The irregular depression in the center of today's image is a volcanic vent located to the northeast of Rachmaninoff basin. The vent is surrounded by a diffuse, high-reflectance blanket that is the result of a pyroclastic eruption from the central vent, similar to that seen surrounding vents in Caloris basin.
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: July 05, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 249959445, 249959465, 249959449
Image ID: 2141786, 2141791, 2141787
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: 35.81°
Center Longitude: 63.71° E
Resolution: 216 meters/pixel
Scale: The central depression is approximately 36 km (22 mi.) along its long axis
Incidence Angle: 58.2°
Emission Angle: 23.1°
Phase Angle: 80.3°
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.