On the edge of Tyagaraja

August 20, 2013 by Jason Major, Universe Today
Hi-res targeted MESSENGER image of the interior of Tyagaraja crater (north is to the right). Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Here's a rather interesting view from orbit around the innermost planet: Mercury's Tyagaraja crater, the interior of which is seen here in an oblique-angled image acquired by the MESSENGER spacecraft on November 12, 2011 (and released August 16, 2013.)

This view looks west across the northern portion of the 97-kilometer (60-mile) -wide crater, and shows some of its large central peaks, terraced walls, and bright erosion features called hollows that are spread across a wide swath of its interior.

First seen by MESSENGER in 2011, hollows are thought to indicate an erosion process unique to Mercury because of its composition and close proximity to the Sun. The lack of craters within hollows seems to indicate that they are relatively young features… in fact, they may be part of a process that continues today.

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 200-meter/pixel base map.

Enhanced-color image of Tyagaraja crater acquired on Sept. 29, 2011. Its large hollow field is highlighted. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Tyagaraja is named after Kakarla Tyagabrahmam, an 18th-century composer of classical Indian Carnatic music.

Explore further: More 'hollowed ground' on Mercury

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