July 26, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
7 (748 nanometers)
Mercury's radius is approximately 2440 km (1516 miles)
apparent in this spectacular limb
image of Mercury come from Debussy
, the sharp crater near the terminator. This dominant crater on Mercury was also a part of MESSENGER's historic
image of Mercury- the first image ever to be taken from a spacecraft in orbit about this planet. Readers may also notice a streak in the blackness of space in the top right corner of the image. This artifact was produced by a cosmic ray hitting the camera's CCD detector while the image was being collected.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's limb imaging campaign. Once per week, MDIS captures images of Mercury's limb, with an emphasis on imaging the southern hemisphere limb. These limb images provide information about Mercury's shape and complement measurements of topography made by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) of Mercury's northern hemisphere.
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.