April 26, 2013
This Spot on Mercury (Almost) Never Goes Dark
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Mercury, traveling in its 88-day-long orbit around the Sun with basically zero axial tilt, has many craters at its poles whose insides literally never see the light of day. These permanently-shadowed locations have been found by the MESSENGER mission to harbor considerable deposits of ice (a seemingly ironic discovery on a planet two-and-a-half times closer to the Sun than we are!*)
But if there are places on Mercury where the Sun never shines (insert butt joke here) then there may also be places where it always does. That’s what researchers are looking for in illumination maps made from MESSENGER data… and they’re getting closer.
The image above shows a region near Mercury’s south pole. The yellow arrow points to the closest thing to a true “peak of eternal light” found thus far on Mercury, a point that receives sunlight about 82% of the time — almost constantly illuminated.
(via universetoday)

This Spot on Mercury (Almost) Never Goes Dark

Mercury, traveling in its 88-day-long orbit around the Sun with basically zero axial tilt, has many craters at its poles whose insides literally never see the light of day. These permanently-shadowed locations have been found by the MESSENGER mission to harbor considerable deposits of ice (a seemingly ironic discovery on a planet two-and-a-half times closer to the Sun than we are!*)

But if there are places on Mercury where the Sun never shines (insert butt joke here) then there may also be places where it always does. That’s what researchers are looking for in illumination maps made from MESSENGER data… and they’re getting closer.

The image above shows a region near Mercury’s south pole. The yellow arrow points to the closest thing to a true “peak of eternal light” found thus far on Mercury, a point that receives sunlight about 82% of the time — almost constantly illuminated.

(via universetoday)
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