This image, acquired with the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC), shows the double rings of Bernini crater, named for the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Located in Mercury's southern hemisphere, Bernini displays concentric ring structures that formed during the impact that created the crater. The inner ring of Bernini appears to have been almost totally buried by smooth plains material.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution surface morphology base map. The surface morphology base map will cover more than 90% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 250 meters/pixel (0.16 miles/pixel or 820 feet/pixel). Images acquired for the surface morphology base map typically have off-vertical Sun angles (i.e., high incidence angles) and visible shadows so as to reveal clearly the topographic form of geologic features.
The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System's innermost planet. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing.
Date acquired: June 01, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 215381360
Image ID: 323138
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: -81.67°
Center Longitude: 233.8° E
Resolution: 268 meters/pixel
Scale: Bernini crater is 158 km (98 miles) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 84.7°
Emission Angle: 1.0°
Phase Angle: 85.4°
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.