This image is located just inside the southern rim of Chong Chol crater and was obtained on April 25, 2015, the day following NASA MESSENGER final orbital correction maneuver. The spacecraft fuel tanks are now completely empty, and there is no means to prevent the Sun's gravity from pulling MESSENGER's orbit closer and closer to the surface of Mercury. Impact is expected to occur on April 30, 2015.
The image is located just inside the southern rim of Chong Chol crater, named for a Korean poet of the 1500s. It is challenging to obtain good images when the spacecraft is very low above the planet, because of the high speed at which the camera's field of view is moving across the surface. Very short exposure times are used to limit smear, and this image was binned from its original size of 1024 x 1024 pixels to 512 x 512 to improve the image quality. The title of today's image is a line from "September Song" (composed by Kurt Weill, with lyrics by Maxwell Anderson. The song was subsequently covered by artists including Ian McCulloch of Echo & the Bunnymen, Lou Reed, and Bryan Ferry).
Date acquired: April 25, 2015
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 72264694
Image ID: 8392292
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 45.43° N
Center Longitude: 298.62° E
Resolution: 2.1 meters/pixel
Scale: The scene is about 2.1 km (1.3 miles) across. This image has not been map projected.
Incidence Angle: 69.9°
Emission Angle: 20.1°
Phase Angle: 90.0°