Radar Image of Mercury
|Minimum credit line: Image courtesy of NRAO/AUI
(for details, see .|
This image of Mercury was the result of a bi-static radar experiment
performed during the conjunction of August, 1991. The experiment used
the JPL/DSN 70-m antenna in Goldstone, CA, as the transmitter,
and the Very Large Array (VLA) as the receiver. The wavelength was
3.5 cm, and this image is in the same circular polarization as that
transmitted. Red areas are areas of high radar reflectivity,
which can either be a result of surface and near-surface composition,
or surface roughness. The north pole was visible at the time, and
the area with the highest radar echoes was located there. Because
of the peculiar polarization signature of this feature, we postulate
that it indicates the presence of significant amounts of water ice.
A similar region has been detected by our group and another group
at the Arecibo antenna which is associated with the south polar
regions. The two other large reflective regions are in regions which
have never been photographed, so the cause of the high reflectivities
remains a mystery.
Investigator(s): Duane O. Muhleman (Caltech),
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Date of Observation
Type of Observation
Spectral Line Observations
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