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Bright and Dark
Click on image to enlarge.
Bright and Dark
Release Date: August 9, 2013
Topics: Albedo Contrasts, Color Images, Low Reflectance Material (LRM), Tectonics,

Date acquired: September 21, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 225100792, 225100800, 225100794
Image ID: 788077, 788082, 788078
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: 22.29°
Center Longitude: 21.46° E
Resolution: 1587 meters/pixel
Scale: Image Width 567 km (350 mi)
Incidence Angle: 34.1°
Emission Angle: 0.2°
Phase Angle: 33.9°

Of Interest: Despite the relatively low (1.6 km/pixel) resolution of this image, some clear differences are visible between the the relatively blue, low-reflectance material (LRM) and the nearby terrain. While one large crater near the center left of the image excavates LRM, another to the north has exposed a brighter, redder deposit, suggesting this region is home to compositions that are heterogeneous on a very local scale.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's 8-color base map. The 8-color base map is composed of WAC images taken through eight different narrow-band color filters and covers more than 99% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 1 kilometer/pixel. The highest-quality color images are obtained for Mercury's surface when both the spacecraft and the Sun are overhead, so these images typically are taken with viewing conditions of low incidence and emission angles.

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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