Astronomy Picture of the Day
July 22, 2014

Sharp Rim
Sharp Rim

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 features a small portion (approx. 7,7 Km - such as about 4,78 miles - across) of the very sharp Rim of a Mercurian Unnamed Complex Impact Crater located on the Northern Hemisphere (and at a relatively high Latitude) of the Innermost Planet of the Solar System.

Both the Terrain found outside the Crater's Rim, as well as on the Floor of the Crater itself are clearly marked with several really small Impact Craters, which - in any case - are extremely easy to spot in this High-Resolution Image taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on May, 5, 2012, at a pixel scale of about 15 meters (such as about 49,19 feet per picture element). The Inner Wall of the Crater, however, is still relatively smooth, since a certain amount of Materials (mostly small Rocks and Dust), in time, have slumped (---> fallen down, due to Gravity Wasting or even Residual Seismic Activity) from the upper part of it, onto its Floor.

Date acquired: May, 5th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 244718181
Image ID: 1769016
InstrumentNarrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 66,99° North
Center Longitude: 227,60° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 68,6° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 21,4° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 1,6° (meaning that the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft was almost perpendicular as to the imaged Surface)
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 70,3°

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 18584) 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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