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Movie of the Distribution of Energetic Electron Events
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Movie of the Distribution of Energetic Electron Events

June 28, 2011
Click here to watch this movie.

  • Date Presented: June 16, 2011, at a NASA press conference
  • Instrument: Gamma-ray Spectrometer (GRS) and the X-ray Spectrometer (XRS)


Of Interest: This movie shows the locations at which energetic electrons were detected by MESSENGER between March 24 and June 3, 2011. In the coordinate system used (known as the Mercury solar orbital, or MSO, coordinates), the Sun is always in a fixed direction (here +X-axis). The events are well distributed in local time, but most are seen when the spacecraft is in the northern hemisphere. MESSENGER's X-ray Spectrometer (XRS) responds to electrons initially with lower energies but in a manner analogous to the GRS.

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. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MDIS is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of MESSENGER's science goals.


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