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Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
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Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
Release Date: October 21, 2011

Date acquired: June 17, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 216760220
Image ID: 388643
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 87.39°
Center Longitude: 265.8° E
Resolution: 160 meters/pixel
Scale: The scene is about 120 km (74 mi.) across.
Incidence Angle: 89.7°
Emission Angle: 46.7°
Phase Angle: 136.4°

Of Interest: This image extends from about 86 to 88 degrees North. Most of the area is in darkness since the Sun is barely above the horizon at this high latitude. The impact crater at the lower left casts a long shadow across the silent, dimly lit landscape. The crater's eastern rim just catches the Sun, forming an illuminated arc.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution surface morphology base map. The surface morphology base map will cover more than 90% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 250 meters/pixel (0.16 miles/pixel or 820 feet/pixel). Images acquired for the surface morphology base map typically have off-vertical Sun angles (i.e., high incidence angles) and visible shadows so as to reveal clearly the topographic form of geologic features.

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.

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