September 29, 2009
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET):
Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
The crater near the middle of the left edge of the image is approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) in diameter
16,200 kilometers (10,100 miles)
As MESSENGER approached Mercury during the spacecraft's third Mercury flyby, the Solar System's innermost planet appeared to the imaging system as a sunlit crescent against the blackness of space
. About 78 minutes prior to closest approach, the NAC captured this striking high-resolution image of the northernmost region of Mercury's surface that was visible to the camera and illuminated by sunlight. The brightly lit northeastern walls of large impact craters can be seen near the horizon, catching the grazing rays of the Sun. The high Sun angle also accentuates wrinkle ridges
winding across the smooth plains. In the foreground, features cast long shadows and the terminator
separates day from night.
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.