For as long as 70 years, a visitor to the original grave site of Edgar Allan Poe left a tribute in the form of roses and a bottle of cognac each January 19 (Poe's birthday). The "Poe Toaster" has not appeared since 2009, and it appears that the tradition has ended. Here we offer our own toast to the great American writer: a color view of Poe crater on Mercury. In this representation, Poe's raven-colored rim stands out from the tan volcanic plains that surround it. Tiny hollows speckle the dark rim like blue-white stars in the blackness of night. This sinfully scintillant planet/From the Hell of the planetary souls.
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: July 03, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 218204194, 218204190, 218204186
Image ID: 458399, 458398, 458397
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: 42.83°
Center Longitude: 158.9° E
Resolution: 213 meters/pixel
Scale: Poe crater is about 77 km (48 mi.) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 42.8°
Emission Angle: 35.9°
Phase Angle: 78.7°
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.