Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Colors of Mercury
Posted on 03/01/2013 9:20:56 PM PST by SunkenCiv
Explanation: The colors of the solar system's innermost planet are enhanced in this tantalizing view, based on global image data from the Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft. Human eyes would not discern the clear color differences but they are real none the less, indicating distinct chemical, mineralogical, and physical regions across the cratered surface. Notable at the upper right, Mercury's large, circular, tan colored feature known as the Caloris basin was created by an impacting comet or asteroid during the solar system's early years. The ancient basin was subsequently flooded with lava from volcanic activity, analogous to the formation of the lunar maria. Color contrasts also make the light blue and white young crater rays, material blasted out by recent impacts, easy to follow as they extend across a darker blue, low reflectance terrain.
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All this time I thought mercury was silver colored. ;’)
Cool pic. I’m so glad they named the planet after my favorite dime.
Colors of Freddie Mercury
It looks as if all the planets and moons and asteroids are covered with impact craters.
That is a beautiful image.
They are indeed, except for the gas giants, which may or may not have some solid core way down under all that gas.
We may never know until we invent a spacecraft that can survive and take topographical pictures in other spectra inside huge clouds of violently swirling, corrosive, toxic gases.
It would be very nice to see if there are mountains of Jupiter and seas of Neptune.
Perhaps Jupiter could be mapped using a pair of satellites and the Jovian radio noises and magnetic fields.
I like the brute strength and ignorance approach, obviously.