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Peeking Through the Darkness
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Peeking Through the Darkness
Release Date: June 6, 2013
Topics: Color Images, Low Reflectance Material (LRM), Rough Terrain, Smooth Terrain,

Date acquired: July 12, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 218926537, 218926533, 218926529
Image ID: 493277, 493276, 493275
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filters: 9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
Center Latitude: 54.41°
Center Longitude: 114.7° E
Resolution: 172 meters/pixel
Scale: The image is 235 km (146 mi.) from corner to corner.
Incidence Angle: 57.2°
Emission Angle: 20.5°
Phase Angle: 77.8°

Of Interest: The region featured in today's image lies just south of Ankgor Vallis. Most of the image is composed of older, rough terrain, with the portions of two smooth-floored craters in the eastern corners. Some darker specks of low reflectance material appear in association with the knobbier plains in the west. Fresh craters impacted into this material appear as brighter blue, peeking out from the darkness.

This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted color observation. Targeted color observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions higher than the 1-kilometer/pixel 8-color base map. During MESSENGER's one-year primary mission, hundreds of targeted color observations were obtained. During MESSENGER's extended mission, high-resolution targeted color observations are more rare, as the 3-color base map covered Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible.

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.


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