Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 5, 2015

Charon: 'The Great Equatorial Belt' (EDM)
Charon: 'The Great Equatorial Belt' (EDM)

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

Even today's APOD is an Extra Detail Magnification (EDM) obtained from a beautiful picture taken by the NASA - New Horizons Spacecraft (which is an High-Resolution View of Charon) just before the Closest Approach, which occurred on July 14, 2015. For your information, 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 today is 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. Large and small Unnamed Impact Craters are also very well visible, both to the Northern and Southern Portion of the Belt; just out of curiosity, one of them, located at about 10 o'clock of the frame, seems to have most of its Inner Rim and North-facing Slopes covered by an unknown white Material.

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 a crop obtained from 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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