Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- All of Mercury
Posted on 06/13/2013 3:29:58 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: For the first time, the entire surface of planet Mercury has been mapped. Detailed observations of the innermost planet's surprising crust have been ongoing since the robotic MESSENGER spacecraft first passed Mercury in 2008 and began orbiting in 2011. Previously, much of the Mercury's surface was unknown as it is too far for Earth-bound telescopes to see clearly, while the Mariner 10 flybys in the 1970s observed only about half. The above video is a compilation of thousands of images of Mercury rendered in exaggerated colors to better contrast different surface features. Visible on the rotating world are rays emanating from a northern impact that stretch across much of the planet, while about half-way through the video the light colored Caloris Basin rotates into view, a northern ancient impact feature that filled with lava. MESSENGER has now successfully completed its primary and first extended missions.
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"All of Me"
Didn’t Alan Jackson write a song about Mercury? Don’t know why he’s crazy about it.
Thanks for the photo, it is exquisite.
I haven’t kept up with the Messenger as much as I should — my uncle is the chief planetary scientist for this mission!! He and my dad grew up DIRT poor in Indiana but were fascinated with outer space and rocketry, and both became rocket scientists. My dad is no longer alive but he worked as a consultant at JPL which I was lucky enough to visit once with him. Since dad died, I haven’t looked through the telescope much or at the constellations, he knew them all. I suppose I should start up again for my own kids...
Thanks! Great reply!