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Blue Rays
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Blue Rays

December 21, 2012
Date acquired: April 12, 2011 Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 211111707, 211111727, 211111711 Image ID: 122544, 122549, 122545 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: 21.31° Center Longitude: 308.8° E Resolution: 401 meters/pixel Scale: The bright-rayed crater Bek is 32 km (20 mi.) in diameter Incidence Angle: 25.8° Emission Angle: 30.0° Phase Angle: 55.9° Of Interest: The beautiful blue rays of Bek dominate this scene, covering nearby craters with wisps of fresh material. Lermontov crater, seen at the bottom of the image, is thought to have been the site of explosive volcanic eruptions. The images in this mosaic were acquired as high-resolution targeted color observations. Targeted color observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions higher than the 1-kilometer/pixel 8-color base map. During MESSENGER's one-year primary mission, hundreds of targeted color observations were obtained. During MESSENGER's extended mission, high-resolution targeted color observations are more rare, as the 3-color base map is covering Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible. 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, MESSENGER acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a yearlong extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington