Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 29, 2014

Unnamed Complex Mercurian Crater
Unnamed Complex Mercurian 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.

This extremely fascinating Complex Unnamed Mercurian Impact Crater - located at a middle Latitude in the Northern Hemisphere of the Innermost Planet of the Solar System - has been largely deformed by the Victoria Rupes: a huge Scarp that formed, most likely, as the final result of a Global Contraction of the Planet's Crust.

Very close to the center of the Crater Floor, lies an irregularly shaped Volcanic Vent, which appears - also in its Western and Southern Surroundings - of a bright orange color - perhaps caused by a large Sulphur Deposit? - either in this Absolute Natural Color frame, as well as in other NASA - Original Natural Color images, always obtained by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft.

Date acquired: July, 23rd, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 251543770
Image ID: 2254442
InstrumentWide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 47,62° North
Center Longitude: 326,80° East
Solar Incidence Angle (at center frame): 86,9° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was only about 3,1° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle (at center frame): 50,2° (meaning that the Spacecraft was far away 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): 137,2°

This picture (which is a 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 18996) 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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