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What Does the Arrow Point To?
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What Does the Arrow Point To?
Release Date: June 22, 2012
Topics: Color Images,

Date acquired: March 30, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 209982156, 209982138, 209982158
Image ID: 69270, 69269, 69271
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: 46.31°
Center Longitude: 21.80° E
Resolution: 244 meters/pixel
Scale: The arrow head shape is about 63 km (40 miles) long.
Incidence Angle: 52.4°
Emission Angle: 0.5°
Phase Angle: 53.0°

Of Interest: This WAC color image shows an "arrow head" shaped crater. The elongated shape indicates that the feature was formed by a low-angle impact or impacts. It may represent a group of secondary craters produced by a large primary crater to the east. But what is the arrow pointing to?

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. 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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