Today's image shows a complicated area of rays to the east of crater Bronte (named for sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte, and their brother Branwell). The rays trending roughly northeast-southwest originated from Degas, which formed just touching Bronte's rim. The roughly north-south ray (and secondary crater chain) on the right side of the image was probably formed by ejecta that came over the pole from Hokusai.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution surface morphology base map. The surface morphology base map covers more than 99% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 200 meters/pixel. Images acquired for the surface morphology base map typically are obtained at off-vertical Sun angles (i.e., high incidence angles) and have visible shadows so as to reveal clearly the topographic form of geologic features.
Date acquired: April 22, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 211981114
Image ID: 163497
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 38.15°
Center Longitude: 238.4° E
Resolution: 322 meters/pixel
Scale: The edges of the image are about 330 km (205 mi.) long.
Incidence Angle: 62.4°
Emission Angle: 0.2°
Phase Angle: 62.5°
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.