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The Spectral and Photometric Properties of Mercury's Disk-integrated Brightness: Results from MESSENGER's Third Flyby of Mercury

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Deborah Domingue

During MESSENGER's third flyby (29 September 2009) of Mercury there was a dedicated observing campaign to measure Mercury's phase curve at 1-2° angle increments. The planned coverage was all eleven filters from 145.5° to 102.3° phase on approach and 37.8° to 144.5° phase on departure. Due to operational triggering of the autonomy rules on board the spacecraft, the actual coverage in this dedicated sequence was reduced to 145.4° 101.6° phase on approach and 53.3° to 144.5° on departure. The purpose of this dedicated photometric sequence was to provide sufficient measurements to quantify the phase behavior of the global surface of Mercury in all eleven filters, thus enabling more accurate photometric calibrations. These photometric calibrations are essential to enabling quantitative color studies of Mercury's surface. This presentation discusses the photometric analysis of these third flyby measurements in context with those obtained from the first and second flybys and the currently published set of Earth-based observations.

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