PIA11351: A View Over Mercury's Horizon

A View Over Mercury’s Horizon


This image was taken about 54 minutes before MESSENGER's closest approach to Mercury during the mission's second flyby of the innermost planet in the Solar System. The striking image shows a view looking over Mercury's horizon into the darkness of space. The surface in this image is located in the northern portion of the sunlit, crescent-shaped planet seen as the spacecraft approached Mercury (see PIA11247 ). The low Sun angle creates distinct shadows, enhancing the visibility of the roughness of the surface, which is especially prominent for material ejected from, and surrounding, the impact crater cut by the left edge of this image.

Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131766595
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 410 meters/pixel (0.25 miles/pixel) near the bottom of the image
Scale: The bottom length of the image is about 420 kilometers (260 miles)
Spacecraft Altitude: 16,000 kilometers (9,900 miles)

Background Info:

These images are from MESSENGER, a NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study of the innermost planet, Mercury. For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy .

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Mercury Sun
System Mercury
Target Type Planet Sun
Instrument Host MESSENGER
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale, Shadow
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2008-10-08
Date in Caption 2008-10-06
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA11351
Identifier PIA11351