The bright, rayed crater Nureyev is at center stage in this dramatic view toward Mercury's eastern limb. The crater's namesake is the Soviet/British ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who died in 1993. This set of color images was obtained at a relatively small phase angle and consequently is dominated by variations in the inherent reflectance and color of the surface. The shape of the crater can be better perceived in an image with a larger phase angle, allowing shadows and shading to reveal the topography of the surface.
This image was acquired as part of MDIS's high-resolution 3-color imaging campaign. The map produced from this campaign complements the 8-color base map (at an average resolution of 1 km/pixel) acquired during MESSENGER's primary mission by imaging Mercury's surface in a subset of the color filters at the highest resolution possible. The three narrow-band color filters are centered at wavelengths of 430 nm, 750 nm, and 1000 nm, and image resolutions generally range from 100 to 400 meters/pixel in the northern hemisphere.
Date acquired: June 17, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 248431526, 248431518, 248431522
Image ID: 2033219, 2033217, 2033218
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: 12.6°
Center Longitude: 187.0° E
Resolution: 660 meters/pixel
Scale: Nureyev crater is about 16 km (10 mi.) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 26.0°
Emission Angle: 54.1°
Phase Angle: 28.0°
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. 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.