This image of Mercury's southern hemisphere shows the large size variation and multiple generations of impact craters on Mercury. Mercury's southern hemisphere is easier to image due to MESSENGER's elliptical orbit, but this orbit also prevents acquisition of high resolution images like those taken in the northern hemisphere.
Date acquired: February 08, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 2613780
Image ID: 3479116
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 9 (996 nanometers)
Center Latitude: -80.38°
Center Longitude: 302.4° E
Resolution: 1486 meters/pixel
Scale: The complex crater in the center of the image is 151 km in diameter (94 miles).
Incidence Angle: 85.0°
Emission Angle: 25.8°
Phase Angle: 59.1°
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. MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.
For information regarding the use of images, see the MESSENGER image use policy.