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Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 9:27 EDT
Berkel Leaves Its Mark
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Berkel Leaves Its Mark

August 21, 2009
  • Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
  • Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131774056
  • Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
  • Resolution: 540 meters/pixel (0.34 miles)
  • Scale: Berkel is 21 kilometers (13 miles) in diameter
  • Spacecraft Altitude: 21,200 kilometers (13,200 miles)

Of Interest: The crater in the lower left corner of this image is Berkel, recently named for Turkish painter and printmaker Sabri Berkel (1909-1993). The crater contains dark material in its center and in a ring immediately surrounding it. Moreover, Berkel is surrounded by a blanket of bright ejecta and a system of bright rays. Other craters on Mercury's surface, such as Basho, also exhibit both bright rays and dark halos. In contrast, two neighboring craters in this image (indicated by white arrows) have bright rays but lack dark halos. Members of the MESSENGER Science Team are investigating why some craters contain dark material while others do not, and what that means for the nature and structure of Mercury's crust.