PIA11357: An Intriguing Dark Halo
Target Name: Mercury
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: MESSENGER
Spacecraft: MESSENGER
Instrument: MDIS - Narrow Angle
Product Size: 1018 x 1024 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Johns Hopkins University/APL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA11357.tif (1.044 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA11357.jpg (152.5 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

Original Caption Released with Image:

A crater discovered in the newly imaged portion of Mercuryís surface during MESSENGERís second Mercury flyby has uncommonly dark material within and surrounding the crater. The material is darker than the neighboring terrain such that this crater with a diameter of 180 kilometers (110 miles) is easily identified even in a distant global image of Mercury; it is located just south of the equator near the limb of the planet in this previously released Wide Angle Camera (WAC) image (PIA11245). The dark halo may be material with a mineralogical composition different from the majority of Mercuryís visible surface. Craters with similar dark material on or near their rims were seen on the floor of the Caloris basin during MESSENGERís first flyby (PIA10603). Images acquired though the 11 different narrow-band color filters of the WAC during MESSENGERís second flyby will be crucial to an understanding of the nature of this newly seen, unusual feature.

Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131774051
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 540 meters/pixel (0.34 miles/pixel)
Scale: This image is about 550 kilometers across (340 miles)
Spacecraft Altitude: 21,000 kilometers (13,000 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.

Image Credit:
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Image Addition Date:
2008-10-09