Today's image is a view of Ahmad Baba, a classic mercurian peak-ring basin. Ahmad (Ahmed) Baba was a West African writer who lived from 1556-1627. The Malian city of Timbuktu is home to the Ahmed Baba Institute, a library and research center named in his honor. The Institute is home to over 18,000 ancient manuscripts.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's 8-color base map. The 8-color base map is composed of WAC images taken through eight different narrow-band color filters and covers more than 99% of Mercury's surface with an average resolution of 1 kilometer/pixel. The highest-quality color images are obtained for Mercury's surface when both the spacecraft and the Sun are overhead, so these images typically are taken with viewing conditions of low incidence and emission angles.
Date acquired: December 14, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 232373246
Image ID: 1136317
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 58.43°
Center Longitude: 231.7° E
Resolution: 250 meters/pixel
Scale: The basin's main ring is about 126 km (78 mi.) in diameter.
Incidence Angle: 71.5°
Emission Angle: 0.5°
Phase Angle: 71.0°
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.