PIA14248: Bright Rays, Small Crater
Target Name: Mercury
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: MESSENGER
Spacecraft: MESSENGER
Instrument: MDIS - Wide Angle
Product Size: 1485 x 1485 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Johns Hopkins University/APL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA14248.tif (2.208 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA14248.jpg (300 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:

The crater Han Kan, with a diameter of 50 kilometers, is far from the largest crater in this scene, but its bright rays make it stand out from its many larger neighbors. View Mercury in Google Earth to identify Han Kan's neighbors, including the double-ring basins Bach and Cervantes.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's color base map. The color base map is composed of WAC images taken through eight different narrow-band color filters and will cover more than 90% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 1 kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel). The highest-quality color images are obtained for Mercury's surface when both the spacecraft and the Sun are overhead, so these images typically are taken with viewing conditions of low incidence and emission angles.

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: May 26, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 214856673
Image ID: 298558
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: -71.90
Center Longitude: 230.4 E
Resolution: 1376 meters/pixel
Scale: The distance from the western corner of this image to the eastern corner is about 2,000 kilometers (1,240 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:
2011-05-31