PIA18749: Seeing in the Dark
 Target Name:  Mercury
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  MESSENGER
 Spacecraft:  MESSENGER
 Instrument:  MDIS - Wide Angle
 Product Size:  3000 x 1581 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Johns Hopkins University/APL
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA18749.tif (14.24 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA18749.jpg (590.8 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

Original Caption Released with Image:

Kandinsky crater is located near Mercury's north pole and shows evidence for hosting water ice. The floor of Kandinsky is in permanent shadow and never receives direct sunlight, keeping it very cold. However, by using sunlight scattered off the crater's walls and the WAC broadband clear filter, MDIS was able to capture this image that reveals the details of the shadowed surface! The WAC broadband image is shown on the left, outlined in yellow and overlain on an MDIS polar mosaic. The view on the right shows the same image but with the brightness and contrast stretched to show the details of the crater's shadowed floor. Read more about the recently published study using this image and others in this news story.

This image was acquired as part of MDIS's campaign to image within regions of permanent shadow in ice-bearing polar craters. Imaging with the WAC broadband clear filter, which has a bandwidth of 600 nanometers and is used for calibration imaging of stars, has the potential to reveal details of shadowed surfaces that are weakly illuminated by scattered sunlight. A variety of image exposure times and viewing conditions are employed to maximize the opportunity to resolve surface features of areas in permanent shadow.

Date acquired: August 13, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 18679693
Image ID: 4621866
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 2 (700 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 88.84
Center Longitude: 72.34 E
Scale: Kandinsky crater (outlined in cyan) has a diameter of 60 km (37 miles)
Projection: Polar stereographic about the north pole, with 180 E to the top

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. During the first two years of orbital operations, 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.

Image Credit:
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Image Addition Date:
2014-10-15