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A Colorful New Look
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A Colorful New Look

June 28, 2011
  • Date acquired: June 21, 2011
  • Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 217134583, 217134599, 217134579
  • Image ID: 407077, 407081, 407076
  • Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
  • WAC filters: 9 (1000 nanometers), 7 (750 nanometers), 6 (430 nanometers) as red-green-blue.
  • Center Latitude: -32.68°
  • Center Longitude: 221.4° E
  • Resolution: 1806 meters/pixel
  • Scale: Basho, the dark-rimmed crater at far left, is 74 km (46 mi.) in diameter.
  • Incidence Angle: 51.4°
  • Emission Angle: 0.6°


Of Interest: This color image reveals two of Mercury's named craters, Basho and Bartok. Basho is the dark-rimmed crater to the far left of the image, and Bartok is the bright yellow crater approximately in the center. Both craters have visible central peaks, but Bartok's peaks appear blue in this image, indicating they may be made of a different material that was unearthed by the large force of the impact.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's color base map. The color base map is composed of WAC images taken through eight different narrow-band color filters and will cover more than 90% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 1 kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/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.

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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