This color image features six named craters. The crater at the very top of the scene displaying bright crater floor material, terraced walls, and central peaks, is Tyagaraja, which has a diameter of 97 km. The large crater in the center of the image, also featuring some bright crater floor material, terraced walls, and central peaks, as well as clear crater chains, is Zeami. The large crater south of Zeami with a smaller crater in its lower half is Sophocles, which has a diameter of 142 km. To the right of Sophocles there is a smaller crater (diameter of 46 km) that appears fresher, and in this image, has orange tinted material surrounding its crater rim; this is Theophanes. To the left of Sophocles there is a similarly sized crater named Goya. Finally, near the upper right quadrant of the image is the newly named Stevenson crater, with the distinctive "X" shape formed by crossing chains of secondary craters.
This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted color observation. Targeted color observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions higher than the 1-kilometer/pixel 8-color base map. During MESSENGER's one-year primary mission, hundreds of targeted color observations were obtained. During MESSENGER's extended mission, high-resolution targeted color observations are more rare, as the 3-color base map is covering Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible.
Date acquired: April 13, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 242837960, 242837980, 242837964
Image ID: 1644117, 1644122, 1644118
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filters: 9, 7, 6 (996, 748, 433 nanometers) in red, green, and blue
Center Latitude: -3.16°
Center Longitude: 212.2° E
Resolution: 671 meters/pixel
Scale: The diameter of the large crater in the middle, Zeami, is 129 km (80 miles)
Incidence Angle: 62.5°
Emission Angle: 26.4°
Phase Angle: 88.9°
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. During the one-year primary mission, MDIS acquired 88,746 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is now in a year-long extended mission, during which plans call for the acquisition of more than 80,000 additional images to support MESSENGER's science goals.
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.