Although its geologic history was very different from that of our closest celestial neighbor, it's fun to see Mercury in the familiar crescent we associate with the Moon. Though the extreme viewing angle makes it hard to tell, this irregular pit is near the center of the sunlit sliver.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's limb imaging campaign. Once per week, MDIS captures images of Mercury's limb, with an emphasis on imaging the southern hemisphere limb. These limb images provide information about Mercury's shape and complement measurements of topography made by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) of Mercury's northern hemisphere.
Date acquired: October 09, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 23631997
Image ID: 4974136
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 7 (748 nanometers)
Center Latitude: -53.19°
Center Longitude: 121.8° E
Resolution: 655 meters/pixel
Incidence Angle: 96.8°
Emission Angle: 67.9°
Phase Angle: 140.3°
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.