PIA16626: Blue Rays
Target Name: Mercury
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: MESSENGER
Spacecraft: MESSENGER
Instrument: MDIS - Wide Angle
Product Size: 935 x 1014 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Johns Hopkins University/APL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA16626.tif (2.846 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA16626.jpg (191.5 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 beautiful blue rays of Bek dominate this scene, covering nearby craters with wisps of fresh material. Lermontov crater, seen at the bottom of the image, is thought to have been the site of explosive volcanic eruptions.

The images in this mosaic were acquired as high-resolution targeted color observations. 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 12, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 211111707, 211111727, 211111711
Image ID: 122544, 122549, 122545
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: 21.31
Center Longitude: 308.8 E
Resolution: 401 meters/pixel
Scale: The bright-rayed crater Bek is 32 km (20 mi.) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 25.8
Emission Angle: 30.0
Phase Angle: 55.9

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.

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:
2012-12-12