Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 3, 2015

Charon, Mordor Macula and more (CTX Frame)
Charon, Mordor Macula and more (CTX Frame)

Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF for the additional process. and color.

The NASA - New Horizons Spacecraft captured this fantastic High-Resolution View of Charon just before the closest approach, which occurred on July 14, 2015. The Original Image - which here has been re-processed in Absolute Natural Colors - combined a series of blue, red and InfraRed images that were all taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (or "MVIC", for short), located onboard the NASA - New Horizons Spacecraft.

The most striking Surface Features visible here are the gray/brown North Polar Region of Charon, for now just informally named Mordor Macula, and the extremely long and truly complex Equatorial Belt of Mountains and Canyons which might - even though just vaguely - resemble to the Great Vallis Marineris Canyon System on Mars. However, other very interesting Surface Features of Charon are also well visible in this picture, and we shall try to do our best to better show them to our Readers in the next few days.

For your information, Charon is roughly 754 miles (such as approx. 1213,44236 Km) across; this image resolves Surface Details as small as about 1,8 miles across (such as approx. 2,896812 Km) per picture element (---> pixel). Remember that the NASA - New Horizons Spacecraft traveled more than three billion miles over nine-and-a-half years to reach the Plutonian System.

The image (which is an Original NASA - New Horizons Spacecraft's enhanced color and NON Map-Projected View published on the NASA - Planetary Phojournal with the ID n. 19968) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, contrast enhanced and sharpened, Gamma corrected and then re-colorized (according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga-LXTT-IPF) in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a normal human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - New Horizons Spacecraft and then looked ahead, towards the Plutonian moon Charon), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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