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A Light Ray
Click on image to enlarge.
A Light Ray
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Topics: Albedo Contrasts, Crater Rays, Debussy, ,

Date acquired: March 14, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 240247908
Image ID: 1517090
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: -31.90°
Center Longitude: 28.14° E
Resolution: 99 meters/pixel
Scale: The image is approximately 120 km (75 miles) across
Incidence Angle: 44.2°
Emission Angle: 52.6°
Phase Angle: 28.1°

Of Interest: The beautiful rays of Debussy cross this scene located to the east of the crater. Though not as extensive as those of Hokusai, Debussy's rays extend hundreds of kilometers from the crater. Debussy was first observed as feature "A" in Earth-based radar acquired at the Goldstone Observatory in 1969.

This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted observation. Targeted observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than the 200-meter/pixel morphology base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution, but typically several areas of high scientific interest are imaged in this mode each week.

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, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support 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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