Astronomy Picture of the Day
August 6, 2014

Raditladi Impact Basin
Raditladi Impact Basin

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 Absolute Natural Color view (which, actually, it is a crop taken from an image-mosaic made out of three frames) of the Complex Raditladi Crater (approx. 257,7 Km - such as about 160,03 miles - in diameter), obtained by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on June, 22, 2014, gives us a fresh and really sharp view of this fascinating Peak-Ring Basin. The bright and irregularly-shaped Hollows of Raditladi stand out in white all along and around the Peak-Ring and make, in fact, a quite sharp contrast with tha darker and smooth Crater's Floor. As we alrady wrote in the past, these (relatively) shallow Surface Depressions (---> the Hollows) may result from the sudden loss of Volatile Materials (Ice, among others) that were present in the Sub-Surface (meaning in a place that is very close to the Surface) of many areas of Mercury.

This image-mosaic also shows the (faint) darker Ejecta of a Crater that impacted the Raditladi Basin just above its Southern Peak-Ring Structure (see at about 6 o'clock of the Structure). The darker Material was - most likely - excavated (---> unearthed) during the formation of the aforementioned small Impact Crater.

Date acquired: June, 22nd, 2014
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 45761752, 45761748, 45761746
Images ID: 6547149, 6547147, 6547146
InstrumentWine Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 28,37° North
Center Longitude: 120,30° East
Solar Incidence Angle (at center frame): 57,3° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 32,7° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle (at center frame): 38,5° (meaning that the Spacecraft was quite far 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): 89,4°

This picture (which is a crop taken from an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18629) 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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