Astronomy Picture of the Day
June 6, 2014

Butterfly Crater
Butterfly Crater

Credits: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University (ASU) - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

In this VIS image, taken by the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter on September, 29th, 2006, and during its 21.257th orbit around the Red Planet, we can see part of the "Butterfly-looking" Ejecta Pattern found all around this Unnamed Impact Crater with Pedestal that is located in the Northern Plains of Mars (and informally named "Butterfly Crater"," for its similarity to the wings of a butterfly)

This type of Ejecta Pattern is, in fact, quite common for highly Oblique Impacts and, if you take a look at this very same Impact Feature at night, by using an IR Image, you will be able to notice that the Ejecta appears extremely bright; this circumstance is due to the fact that the Rocky Ejecta (as well as the Crater and its Walls and Slopes) is (are) considerably warmer than the surrounding Dust that covers most of the Northern Plains.

Just out of curiosity, if you look at the right (Dx) side (such as towards the East) of the Butterfly Crater, which appears to be relatively young (remember that the Ejecta Patterns - or Rays - tend to fade and then disappear, in time), there is another Unnamed Impact Crater that, most likely way older than the Butterfly one, whose inside has been now almost completely filled by Dust and Atmospheric Particulate.

Latitude (centered): 72,3992° North
Longitude (centered): 125,9990° East
Instrument: VIS

This image (which is an Original Mars Odyssey Orbiter b/w and NON Map-Projected frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18267) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, contrast enhanced and sharpened, Gamma corrected and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Mars Odyssey Orbiter and then looked down, towards the Surface of Mars), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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