Cosmic Rays Near Mercury
The rays apparent in this spectacular limb image of Mercury come from Debussy, the sharp crater near the terminator. This dominant crater on Mercury was also a part of MESSENGER's historic image of Mercury- the first image ever to be taken from a spacecraft in orbit about this planet. Readers may also notice a streak in the blackness of space in the top right corner of the image. This artifact was produced by a cosmic ray hitting the camera's CCD detector while the image was being collected.
Date acquired: July 26, 2011
Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington