Astronomy Picture of the Day
May 11, 2014

Mercurian Impact Melt's Pond (CTX Frame)
Mercurian Impact Melt's Pond (CTX Frame)

Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF for the additional process. and color.

This High-Resolution Contextual (CTX) Image, taken by NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on the date of March, 10, 2014, shows us a few Ponds (---> small Lake-like Features) made of Impact Melt (remember that this kind of Surface Features appear to us way smoother than the Terrain which surrounds them).

In particular, these Melt Ponds (where the bigger one looks like some sort of a Flat Ellipse, with its Major Axis measuring approx. 1 Km - and visible at about 10 o' clock of the frame) were deposited (probably) as Fluid Ejecta (---> such as Ejecta made of liquid or semi-liquid Rock) coming from an Unnamed Impact Crater located to the North (top) of the picture, but not visible here.

Date acquired: March, 10th, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 36770132
Image ID: 5908036
InstrumentNarrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 63,77° North
Center Longitude: 254,70° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 72,5° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 17,5° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 6,3°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 78,9°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18371) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, Gamma corrected, magnified to aid the visibility of the details and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Surface of Mercury), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among other things, the existence of different Elements (Minerals) present on the Surface of Mercury, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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