Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 22, 2014

Lobate Scarp in Sinan Crater
Lobate Scarp in Sinan 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.

Today's APOD features a Sinuous Lobate Scarp that "snakes" across the Floor of the Mercurian Sinan Crater.

Sinan Crater is an old and highly degraded Impact Crater, approx- 134 Km (such as approx. 83,214 miles) in diameter. Sinan's Rim and Peak Ring Mountains have been worn down (---> destroyed, highly damaged) by countless old impacts, while the Basin has also been profoundly modified (from its original shape) by several large and younger impacts. If you pay real attention, you will be able to notice that small Hollows dot parts of the Northern Rim, Lobate Scarp, Peak Ring, and - of course - the Floor of Sinan Crater.

Date acquired: October, 29th, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 228371453
Image ID: 945803
InstrumentWide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 15,65° North
Center Longitude: 328,30° East
Solar Incidence Angle (at center frame): 82,5° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 7,5° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle (at center frame): 15,0° (meaning that the Spacecraft was not too close from being perpendicular as to the imaged Surface at the time when the picture was taken)
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle (at center frame): 69,4°

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 18984) 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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