The rayed crater near the bottom of this image is Hodgkins, named in July 2009 in honor of the New Zealand painter Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947). In this image, north is approximately toward the upper right corner. Hodgkins has an asymmetric pattern of rays, which provides information about the impact event that formed the crater. Hodgkins' asymmetric rays were formed when an object, traveling in either a northeastern or southwestern direction, struck Mercury at a low angle to the surface. Compare the rays of Hodgkins to the rays of Qi Baishi and Hovnatanian, and read more about low-angle impacts. Visit this image of Bek to learn more about how rays form and how they fade with time.
On March 17, 2011 (March 18, 2011, UTC), MESSENGER became the first spacecraft ever to orbit the planet Mercury. The mission is currently in its commissioning phase, during which spacecraft and instrument performance are verified through a series of specially designed checkout activities. In the course of the one-year primary mission, the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation will unravel the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the science questions that the MESSENGER mission has set out to answer.
Date acquired: March 31, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 210025195
Image ID: 71248
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers wavelength)
Center Latitude: 32.2°
Center Longitude: 16.3° E
Resolution: 720 meters/pixel (0.45 miles/pixel)
Scale: Hodgkins has a diameter of 19 kilometers (12 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.