One of the more dramatic craters seen by MESSENGER during its first flyby of Mercury this past January was Vivaldi (see PIA10175). Right at the day/night terminator, the crater was slipping away into darkness as Mercury slowly rotated. Two days ago, MESSENGER made its second flyby of the innermost planet, and once again captured a view of Vivaldi, this time at sunrise. Long shadows are draped across the floor of this feature, which is actually considered a “small” double-ring basin despite having a diameter of 213 kilometers (133 miles). The low Sun illumination also highlights ridges, valleys, and chains of craters radiating away from Vivaldi.
Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131771928
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 250 meters/pixel (0.16 miles/pixel)
Scale: The diameter of Vivaldi crater is 213 kilometers (133 miles)
Spacecraft Altitude: 9,600 kilometers (6,000 miles)
These images are from MESSENGER, a NASA Discovery mission to conduct the first orbital study of the innermost planet, Mercury. For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.