March 21, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
6148727, 6148718, and 6148724
3731063, 3731060, 3731062
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
Botticelli crater is approximately 120 km (75 mi.) across
North is up in this image.
Today's featured image highlights the first set of color images from a new imaging campaign: minimum-phase-angle color. Near the north polar region, the incidence angle (measured from the vertical) is always high because the Sun is low on the horizon. The minimum-phase-angle color campaign acquires images from as close to the direction of solar illumination as possible, which minimizes the phase angle and thus the shadows in a given area. Images are acquired through five of the WAC's narrow-band color filters, for regions north of 60° N, at an average resolution of 500 meters/pixel.
With this imaging campaign, the MESSENGER team will be searching for spectral differences among Mercury's northern smooth plains
and the ejecta of craters that could indicate compositional differences. In today's image you can see a portion of Botticelli crater, which does not appear to have a strong color contrast from its surroundings.
The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation
are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. During the first two years of orbital operations, MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy.