Astronomy Picture of the Day
June 4, 2014

Mercurian Rolling Hills
Mercurian Rolling Hills

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.

Today's APOD - which is another snapshot taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on April, 4, 2014 - features several so-called "Rolling Hills" located within the Northern Plains of Mercury. Even though they are covered by smooth Plains Material (Dust, Volcanic Ashes and Regolith maybe?), these Hills are associated with the Rim of a relatively large Unnamed Buried Impact Crater.

At this High Resolution, many small (and, of course, Geologically speaking, "fresh") Unnamed Impact Craters can also be seen dotting the whole landscape, with some (actually, most) of them which are just as small as ~ 20 to 30 meters (such as about 65,6 to 98,39 feet) in diameter.

Date acquired: April, 4th, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 38930993
Image ID: 6061617
InstrumentNarrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 81,67° North
Center Longitude: 234,20° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 81,9° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 8,1° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 21,9°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 82,3°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18446) 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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