PIA12264: Today, MESSENGER Flies by Mercury!
Target Name: Mercury
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: MESSENGER
Spacecraft: MESSENGER
Instrument: MDIS - Narrow Angle
Product Size: 1024 x 1024 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Johns Hopkins University/APL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA12264.tif (1.05 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA12264.jpg (17 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:

MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury occurs today, with closest approach to the planet at 5:55 pm EDT. This NAC image of a sunlit crescent Mercury was taken 44 hours before the spacecraft's closest pass to the surface. Visit the interactive visualization tool to examine in detail the instrument observations planned for the flyby. Starting at 3:45 pm EDT today, the visualization tool can be run in real-time, showing the planned observations on the website at the same time that the MESSENGER spacecraft will be performing the actual observations. The images and other measurements collected by MESSENGER during the flyby will begin to be transmitted to Earth just before midnight tonight.

Date Acquired: September 28, 2009
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 162589824
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 14 kilometers/pixel (8.7 miles/pixel)
Scale: Mercury's diameter is 4880 kilometers (3030 miles)
Spacecraft Altitude: 542,000 kilometers (337,000 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:
2009-09-29