The International Astronomical Union (IAU) recently approved the name Rachmaninoff for an intriguing double-ring basin on Mercury. This basin, first imaged in its entirety during MESSENGER's third Mercury flyby, was quickly identified as a feature of high scientific interest, because of its fresh appearance, its distinctively colored interior plains, and the extensional troughs on its floor. At the NASA science update to the media on November 3, 2009, this then-unnamed basin featured prominently in the imaging results presented, with both an enhanced-color image and a reprojected mosaic released and discussed. The basin's name honors the Russian composer, pianist, and conductor, Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943). Rachmaninoff joins ten other names for Mercury craters approved this month.
Date Acquired: September 29, 2009
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Scale: The diameter of Rachmaninoff is 290 kilometers (180 miles)
Projection: This image is a portion of the NAC approach mosaic acquired during Mercury flyby 3.Shown here is an orthographic reprojection of that mosaic with a resolution of 500 meters/pixel (0.3 miles/pixel).
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.