October 6, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
400 meters/pixel (0.25 miles/pixel) near the bottom of the image
The bottom length of the image is about 410 kilometers (250 miles)
15,800 kilometers (9,800 miles)
This image was taken about 54 minutes before MESSENGER's closest approach to Mercury during the mission's second flyby of the innermost planet in the Solar System. The striking image shows a view looking over Mercury's horizon into the darkness of space. The surface in this image is located in the northern portion of the sunlit, crescent-shaped planet seen as the spacecraft approached Mercury
. The low Sun angle creates distinct shadows, enhancing the visibility of the roughness of the surface, which is especially prominent for material ejected from, and surrounding, the impact crater cut by the left edge of this image.
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.