This color view of the vicinity of Matisse crater, seen in an early Gallery image from MESSENGER's first flyby of Mercury in 2008. Two unnamed craters formed tangentially to the rim of Matisse (one just inside the rim, and one just outside). These craters have bright orange deposits on their floors. High reflectance and a greater-than-average ("red") spectral slope create the orange appearance in this color presentation. Such color characteristics are found at many other locations on Mercury where pyroclastic volcanic eruptions took place.
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 covered Mercury's northern hemisphere with the highest-resolution color images that are possible.
Date acquired: October 21, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 259266820, 259266840, 259266824
Image ID: 2803275, 2803280, 2803276
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: -23.00°
Center Longitude: 268.4° E
Resolution: 674 meters/pixel
Scale: The scene is about 890 km (553 mi.) across; Matisse crater is about 186 km (116 mi.) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 45.6°
Emission Angle: 33.5°
Phase Angle: 78.7°
North is up in this image.
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.