Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 18, 2014

Hollows in Mistral Crater
Hollows in Mistral Crater

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.

As you should already know, Hollows, on Mercury, are often associated with Pyroclastic Deposits. This Geophysical Association is well illustrated here, in this view (approx. 33 Km - such as about 20,493 miles - across) of the Floor of Mistral Crater. The huge, Irregular Depressions visible here (in the upper left - Sx - quadrant of the picture) are Volcanic Vents from which Explosive Eruptions ejected large amounts of Pyroclastic Material. On the other hand, the small, Clustered Depressions with Bright Halos, are the - now famous - Hollows.

Gabriela Mistral was a Chilean poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945. The English title of her first great collection of poems was "Despair" (1922). Two years later "Tenderness" was published. Both volumes exhibited her "her lyric poetry... inspired by powerful emotions". Just like the emotions we feel every time we take a look at pictures like this one...

Date acquired: April, 24th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 243797555
Image ID: 1703566
InstrumentNarrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 4,31° North
Center Longitude: 305,60° East
Solar Incidence Angle (at center frame): 68,0° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 22,0° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle (at center frame): (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): 74,1°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18946) 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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