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Off-Central Peaks
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Off-Central Peaks

February 13, 2013
Release Date: February 5, 2013 Topics: NAC, Named Craters, Smooth Terrain Date acquired: December 05, 2012 Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 263234346 Image ID: 3085867 Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) Center Latitude: -48.83° Center Longitude: 213.9° E Resolution: 155 meters/pixel Scale: Sibelius crater is 92 km (57 mi.) in diameter Incidence Angle: 60.3° Emission Angle: 35.9° Phase Angle: 32.8° Of Interest: The central peaks of Sibelius crater are not actually so central, but instead are offset to the southwestern side of the crater. The smooth, flat surfaces surrounding the peaks are composed of solidified impact melt, which pooled in the crater floor and outside the rim but is concentrated to the northeast. These observations suggest that the impactor that formed Sibelius came at an oblique angle from the southwest, with central peaks offset up-range and melt splashing out of the crater down-range. The crater is still largely circular, as only the very shallowest impact angles result in oblique craters such as Hovnatanian. North is up in this image. 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. 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