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The crater in the lower left corner of this image is Berkel, recently named for Turkish painter and printmaker Sabri Berkel (1909-1993). The crater contains dark material in its center and in a ring immediately surrounding it. Moreover, Berkel is surrounded by a blanket of bright ejecta and a system of bright rays. Other craters on Mercury’s surface, such as Basho, also exhibit both bright rays and dark halos. In contrast, two neighboring craters in this image (indicated by white arrows) have bright rays but lack dark halos. Members of the MESSENGER Science Team are investigating why some craters contain dark material while others do not, and what that means for the nature and structure of Mercury's crust.
Date Acquired: October 6, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 131774056
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 540 meters/pixel (0.34 miles)
Scale: Berkel is 21 kilometers (13 miles) in diameter
Spacecraft Altitude: 21,200 kilometers (13,200 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.