Astronomy Picture of the Day
July 15, 2014

Features of the South Polar Regions of Mercury
Features of the South Polar Regions of Mercury

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.

In today's APOD, which is an image-mosaic made out of three pictures taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on June, 16, 2014, we can see a large area (approx. 1585 Km - such as about 984,285 miles - across) that is located near the South Pole of Mercury.


On the right (Dx) side of the image, going from top to bottom, there are both the so-called "Terror" and "Eltanin" Rupes. On the other hand, near the middle of the right (Dx) edge of the frame, there is Alver, a Peak-Ring Impact Crater. Finally, below Alver Crater, we find Disney, an Impact Crater named after the American business magnate, animator, producer, director, screenwriter, philanthropist, and voice actor Walter Elias ("Walt") Disney (who was born in Hermosa, Chicago, Illinois - USA -, on December, 5, 1901, and died in Burbank, California, on December, 15, 1966).


Date acquired: June, 16th, 2014
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 45232494, 45232490, 45232488
Imags ID: 6510119, 6510117, 6510116
InstrumentWide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 83,00° South
Center Longitude: 40,17° East
Solar Incidence Angle (at center frame): 85,3° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 4,7° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle (at center frame): 14,1°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle (at center frame): 99,4°


This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18537) 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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