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Date acquired: June 8, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 44519827-44520005
Image ID: 6458912-6459090
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Initial Center Latitude: 77.2°
Initial Center Longitude: 78.1° E
Final Center Latitude: 79.2°
Final Center Longitude: 193.6° E
Resolution: 21 meters/pixel-45 meters/pixel
Scale: The first image is approximately 10.5 km (6.5 miles) across
Incidence Angle: 80.0°-87.6°
Emission Angle: 78.4°-83.5°
Phase Angle: 66.3°-66.4°
This movie consists of 214 images acquired by MESSENGER's Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) on June 8, 2014. The NAC field of view looks toward the horizon along the direction of spacecraft motion as the probe crossed the terminator into night. This view is what a traveler on the MESSENGER spacecraft might see during low-altitude operations over the next eight months. During the final phase of its mission, MESSENGER's science instruments will use low-altitude operations like this to explore the surface and subsurface of Mercury at unprecedented resolution.
The image frames were taken once per second while MESSENGER was at altitudes ranging from 115 to 165 kilometers, traveling at a speed of 3.7 kilometers per second relative to the surface. The movie is sped up by a factor of seven for ease of viewing. The images have resolutions ranging from 21 to 45 meters/pixel. Higher-resolution images of Mercury's surface are possible if the camera is pointed directly below the spacecraft rather than looking to the horizon, and such operations are the routine approach for low-altitude imaging. To observe an aerial view of MESSENGER's flight path, see PIA18637. To look closely at the flight path imagery, see PIA18636.
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.