The various named features present in this color image, Qi Baishi, Hovnatanian, Kalidasa, and Tolstoj, create a stunning depiction of Mercury's scarred and variable surface. Tolstoj, the large basin in the bottom right of the image, represents the war and peace of its namesake's famous novel through its smooth, light-colored center and rough, dark blue exterior.
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.
Date acquired: June 27, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 217689462, 217689478, 217689458
Image ID: 433721, 433725, 433720
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 9 (1000 nanometers), 7 (750 nanometers), 6 (430 nanometers) as red-green-blue
Center Latitude: -11.69°
Center Longitude: 178.1° E
Resolution: 1387 meters/pixel
Scale: The inner ring of Tolstoj, the basin to the bottom right of the image, is 365 km
Incidence Angle: 13.4°
Emission Angle: 14.6°
Phase Angle: 28.0°
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.