PIA11766: Night Falls on Mercury
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: PIA11766.tif (1.044 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA11766.jpg (112.7 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:

Acquired as the MESSENGER spacecraft approached the planet during the missionís second Mercury flyby, this NAC image captures a scene of nightfall on Mercury. The surface features on the right side of the image are illuminated by the last rays of sunlight and will soon be in the darkness of a Mercury night. Some high-standing rugged crater rims poke up into the light, while the lower-elevation crater interiors are already in darkness. Looking out toward the limb of the planet (upper left), extensive areas of smooth plains are visible, as also observed on other regions of the nearby surface (see PIA11353). The terrain to the left of this image can be viewed in a previously released NAC image (see PIA11366).

Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131766569
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 410 meters/pixel (0.25 miles/pixel) near the bottom edge of the image
Scale: The bottom of the image is about 420 kilometers (260 miles) wide
Spacecraft Altitude: 15,900 kilometers (9,900 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:
2008-12-15