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Radius and limb topography of Mercury obtained from images acquired during the MESSENGER flybys

Oberst, Jürgen and Elgner, Stephan and Turner, F. Scott and Perry, Mark E. and Gaskell, Robert W. and Zuber, Maria T. and Robinson, Mark S. and Solomon, Sean C. (2011) Radius and limb topography of Mercury obtained from images acquired during the MESSENGER flybys. Planetary and Space Science, 59, pp. 1918-1924. ISSN 0032-0633.

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Abstract

Analysis of images obtained by the MESSENGER spacecraft during its three flybys of Mercury yields a new estimate for the planet’s mean radius of 2439.2570.69 km, in agreement with results from Mariner 10 and Earth-based observations, as well as with MESSENGER altimeter and occultation data. The mean equatorial radius and polar radius are identical to within error, suggesting that rotational oblateness is negligible when compared with other sources of topography. This result is consistent with the small gravitational oblateness of the planet. Minor differences in radius obtained at different locations reflect regional variations in topography. Residual topography along three limb profiles has a dynamic range of 7.4 km and a root-mean-square roughness of 0.8 km over hemispherical scales. Following MESSENGER’s entry into orbit about Mercury in March 2011, we expect considerable additional improvements to our knowledge of Mercury’s size and shape.

Document Type:Article
Title:Radius and limb topography of Mercury obtained from images acquired during the MESSENGER flybys
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Oberst, Jürgenjuergen.oberst@dlr.de
Elgner, Stephanstephan.elgner@dlr.de
Turner, F. ScottJHU/APL
Perry, Mark E.JHU/APL
Gaskell, Robert W.Planetary Science Institute
Zuber, Maria T.MIT
Robinson, Mark S.Arizona State University
Solomon, Sean C.Carnegie Institution of Washington
Date:December 2011
Journal or Publication Title:Planetary and Space Science
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:59
Page Range:pp. 1918-1924
ISSN:0032-0633
Status:Published
Keywords:Mercury Radius Topography Imaging MESSENGER
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben BepiColombo
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geodesy
Deposited By: Stephan Elgner
Deposited On:19 Dec 2011 10:05
Last Modified:26 Mar 2013 13:35

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