Of Interest: This image shows a colorful view of Bronte (the large crater in the top right corner) and Degas (the blue-hued crater atop Bronte). These craters are located in Sobkou Planitia, a plains region formed through past volcanic activity.
This image was acquired as a high-resolution targeted observation. Targeted observations are images of a small area on Mercury's surface at resolutions much higher than the 250-meter/pixel (820 feet/pixel) morphology base map or the 1-kilometer/pixel (0.6 miles/pixel) color base map. It is not possible to cover all of Mercury's surface at this high resolution during MESSENGER's one-year mission, but several areas of high scientific interest are generally imaged in this mode each week.
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. Visit the Why Mercury? section of this website to learn more about the key science questions that the MESSENGER mission is addressing. During the one-year primary mission, MDIS is scheduled to acquire more than 75,000 images in support of MESSENGER's science goals.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington. Larger image
Date acquired: December 12, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 232160712, 232160708, 232160704
Image ID: 1125985, 1125984, 1125983
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: 36.44°
Center Longitude: 231.5° E
Resolution: 231 meters/pixel
Scale: Degas crater is 52 km (32 miles) in diameter
Incidence Angle: 59.7°
Emission Angle: 25.2°
Phase Angle: 85.0°