Astrophotography by Anthony Ayiomamitis

Solar System Image Gallery - Mercury

Aside from being the closest planet to the Sun, Mercury is only second to distant Pluto in being the smallest planet of our solar system. It rotates completely around the Sun once every 88 days and has such a slow rotation about its axis that a day on Mercury is greater in length than its year (ie. time required to orbit the Sun). The proximity of Mercury to the Sun is responsible for its characteristic surface which is completely covered with craters, for the immense gravitational force of the Sun attracts many comets and asteroids which inevitably also crash into Mercury due its close proximity to the Sun. At aphelion, Mercury reaches a temperature of 285C whereas during perihelion it surpasses 430C (7.5x the greatest temperature ever recorded on the surface of the Earth: 57.7C, Lybia, Sept 1922). In contrast, the temperature at night reaches -180C due to the absence of any atmosphere. The only satellite mission to Mercury was Mariner 10 which made three fly-bys between March 1974 and March 1975 when it photographed half its surface. One of the most dominant features encountered by Mariner 10 is a plateau measuring 1300 km in diameter and is most probably due to an impact from a 100-km wide asteroid travelling at 500,000 km per hour.


Image Details
Mercury Transit 2003 - Ingress in H-alpha
Imaging Details
Body:
Mercury

Mean Distance (A.U.):
0.387

Equatorial Diam (km):
4,878

Mass:
0.06 x Earth

Volume:
0.06 x Earth

Orbital Period:
87.969 days

Number of Moons:
0

Orbital Eccentricity:
0.206

Orbital Inclination:
7.0

Albedo:
0.11
Date:
May 07, 2003
08:13:00 - 08:18:00 UT+3


Location:
Athens, Greece

Equipment:
Celestron 14" SCT
Losmandy G-11
Baader ND5 Filter (off-axis)

TeleVue Pronto Refractor
Nikon Coolpix 995
ScopeTronix SWA14 Adapter
Coronado SolarMax 60/BF10


Exposures:
1/125th sec @ f/4.1
ISO 100
RGB TIFF image format
2048x1536 image size
60 secs between exp


Software:
CCDSoft V5
CCDSharp V1.1
Photoshop V6


Processing:
Fast Fourier Transform
Linear Stretching
L.-R. Deconvolution
Levels
Unsharp Masking
Alignment
Layers (RGB)


Copyright 2001-2005, Anthony Ayiomamitis. All rights reserved.