Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 3, 2014

Features of the Northern Volcanic Plains
Features of the Northern Volcanic Plains

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 Region of the Northern Volcanic Plains of Mercury, just to the South/East of the Impact Crater Yoshikawa. As you can see, a Wrinkle Ridge cuts diagonally all the way across the image. The high spatial resolution of this frame reveals a somewhat smoother texture on the Wrinkle Ridge than on the Terrain located to the South/East of it.

Date acquired: October, 18th, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 55992080
Image ID: 7269929
InstrumentNarrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 74,96° North
Center Longitude: 109,30° East
Solar Incidence Angle (at center frame): 85,1° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 4,9° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle (at center frame): 5,5° (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): 85,1°

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 18967) 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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