Click on the image for the movie
This animation is a zoom-in of MESSENGERís second Mercury flyby outbound magnetopause crossing, showing nine seconds of magnetic field data at high resolution sampled 20 times per second. Data were obtained at the point shown by the spacecraft in the lower left as it crossed the magnetopause (white trace). The strong magnetic field directed inward at the magnetopause (18:49:14 UT) indicates that Mercury has the most intensely driven magnetosphere system ever observed in situ. Additional figures generated using MAG data show the magnetic field strengths (see PIA11404) and compare the interactions between Mercuryís magnetosphere and the solar wind (see PIA11408) during both of MESSENGERís two Mercury flybys.
Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Instrument: Magnetometer (MAG)
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.