Get a Change of View of Mercury’s North Pole

A forced perspective view of Profokiev crater near Mercury's north pole

A forced perspective view of Prokofiev crater near Mercury’s north pole

It’s always good to get a little change of perspective, and with this image we achieve just that: it’s a view of Mercury’s north pole projected as it might be seen from above a slightly more southerly latitude. Thanks to the MESSENGER spacecraft, with which this image was originally acquired, as well as the Arecibo Observatory here on Earth, scientists now know that these polar craters contain large deposits of water ice – which may seem surprising on an airless and searing-hot planet located so close to the Sun but not when you realize that the interiors of these craters never actually receive sunlight.

The locations of ice deposits are shown in the image in yellow. See below for a full-sized version.

Read the rest of Get a Change of View of Mercury’s North Pole (308 words)

© Jason Major for Universe Today, 2015. |
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