April 24, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
7 (748 nanometers)
Mercury's radius in 2440 kilometers
Once per week, MDIS captures images of Mercury's limb (the edge of the sunlit planet with space), with an emphasis on imaging the southern hemisphere limb. An example of one of those limb images is shown here. The spacecraft was high above Mercury's south polar region when capturing this image. However, even when the spacecraft is at its highest altitude above Mercury, a single WAC image cannot capture the entire limb of Mercury. Consequently, two images are taken and mosaicked together to image Mercury's entire limb. These limb images will provide information about Mercury's shape and will complement measurements of topography made by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA)
of Mercury's northern hemisphere. Read about MDIS's other imaging campaigns in this featured story.
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. Visit the Why Mercury?
section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MDIS is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of MESSENGER's science goals.
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.