Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 7, 2014

Mercurian Scarp
Mercurian Scarp

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.

We know, after having examined hundreds of pctures taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft in the past few years, that Mercury's Surface is heavily tectonized, but we don't always get to see Features like Lobate Scarps up close. This example, located within a smooth Plains Deposit near the Equator of Mercury, has a total length of about 120 Km (such as approx. 74,52 miles), but is only on the order of a couple of hundred meters in relief. Numerous (and all Unnamed) Impact Craters dot the whole scene, including some (obviously younger than the most part of the other ones, sitting on the Plain) which superpose (---> are on top of) the Scarp Face itself.

Date acquired: August, 1st, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 49201446
Image ID: 6790688
InstrumentNarrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 4,5° North
Center Longitude: 76,9° East
Solar Incidence Angle (at center frame): 76,3° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 13,7° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle (at center frame): 713° (meaning that the Spacecraft was almost perpendicular to the imaged Surface at the time when the picture was taken)
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle (at center frame): 74,9°

This picture (which is crop taken from an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18943) 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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