PIA17404: Bright and Dark

Bright and Dark


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.

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°

Background Info:

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. MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.

For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy .

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Mercury
Target Type Planet
Instrument Host MESSENGER
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Detector Wide Angle Camera (WAC)
Extra Keywords Color, Crater, Map, Radio
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2013-08-09
Date in Caption 2011-09-21
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17404
Identifier PIA17404