PIA17456: Peaking Into the Dark

Peaking Into the Dark


In this dramatic scene, an unnamed crater in Mercury's northern volcanic plains is bathed in darkness as the sun sits low on the horizon. Rising from the floor of the crater is its central peak, a small mountain resulting from the crater's formation. A central peak is a type of crater morphology that lies between " simple " and " peak ring " in the range of crater morphology on Mercury.

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.

Date acquired: July 07, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 15510763
Image ID: 4396614
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 69.67°
Center Longitude: 1.51° E
Resolution: 16 meters/pixel
Scale: The image is about 23 km (14.3 mi.) from top to bottom
Incidence Angle: 80.3°
Emission Angle: 49.8°
Phase Angle: 130.1°
North is to the bottom right of the image.

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 Narrow Angle Camera (NAC)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale, Map, Mountain, Radio, Volcano
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2013-09-09
Date in Caption 2013-07-07
Image Credit NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17456
Identifier PIA17456