Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 10, 2014

Almost in the Darkness
Almost in the Darkness

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 image (approx. 5,7 Km - such as about 3,539 miles - across) features the Outer Edge and Slopes of a relatively small (~10 Km - such as about 6,21 miles - in diameter) Unnamed Impact Crater located to the North/West of Copland Crater. The bowl shape of this Simple Impact Crater (meaning without Inner Terracing and/or Central Uplift and/or a common Wall with another Crater) results in a particularly dramatic shadow at High Solar Incidence Angles.

Date acquired: August, 3rd, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 49375560
Image ID: 6803045
InstrumentNarrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 39,83° North
Center Longitude: 68,58° East
Solar Incidence Angle (at center frame): 73,1° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 16,9° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle (at center frame): 4,9° (meaning that the Spacecraft was very close from being almost perpendicular to the imaged Surface at the time when the picture was taken)
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle (at center frame): 78,0°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18737) 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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