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The First Solar Day

Friday 16 December 2011

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


Instrument: Mercury Dual Imaging System – Wide Angle Camera.

After its first Mercury solar day (176 Earth days) in orbit, MESSENGER has nearly completed two of its main global imaging campaigns: a monochrome map at 250 m/pixel and an eight- color, 1-km/pixel color map. Apart from small gaps, which will be filled in during the next solar day, these global maps now provide uniform lighting conditions ideal for assessing the form of Mercuryʼs surface features as well as the color and compositional variations across the planet. The orthographic views seen here, centered at 75° E longitude, are each mosaics of thousands of individual images. At right, images taken through the wide-angle camera filters at 1000, 750, and 430 nm wavelength are displayed in red, green, and blue, respectively.

Université Paris-Sud 11 Faculté des Sciences GEOPS CNRS
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