Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 11, 2015

Abedin Crater's South/Western Inner Wall
Abedin Crater's South/Western Inner Wall

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.

Impact Crater Floors - on Mercury, but even elsewhere in the Solar System - are commonly (---> usually) flat and relatively smooth, and that is the result of the Cooling and Solidification of the so-called "Impact Melt", such as a huge mass of (almost completely) liquid Rocky Material generated (---> created, caused)by the extreme heat which characterized the Impact Event itself. Often, the Pool of Impact Melt cracks as it cools, and this is a process that is quite well illustrated by the striking Mercurian Abedin Crater.

Although not visible in the frame here, taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on January, 25, 2015, this Impact Crater also hosts "Cooling Cracks" on its otherwise relatively flat Floor. Furthermore, it also boasts numerous Terraces along its Inner Wall which, most likely, formed after the aforememntioned Impact Melt solidified.

Just out of curiosity, please note how the fine-grained and orangish-colored texture of the Inner Walls of Abedin Crater contrasts with the uneven and gray-colored Crater's Floor.

Date acquired: January, 25th, 2015
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 64531185
Image ID: 7861875
InstrumentNarrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 27,10° North
Center Longitude: 69,10° East
Solar Incidence Angle (at center frame): 70,8° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 19,2° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle (at center frame): 5,1° (meaning that the Spacecraft was not too 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): 65,7°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 19231) 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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