Where In The Universe #40

Article written: 28 Jan , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

It’s Wednesday, so that means its time for another “Where In The Universe” challenge to test your visual knowledge of the cosmos. This is number 40! Woo hoo! See if you can name where in the Universe this image is from, and give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for the image. Make your guess and post a comment. Check back sometime on Thursday to find the answer and see how you did.

UPDATE: The answer has now been posted below. No peeking before you make your guess!

This is Mercury, taken by MESSENGER in October 2008 as the spacecraft approached the planet during the mission’s second Mercury flyby. This image shows nightfall on Mercury. It was taken by the Narrow Angle Camera, showing an area about 420 kilometers (260 miles) wide. The spacecraft altitude was 15,900 kilometers (9,900 miles). For more information about this image check out the MESSENGER website.

Thanks for taking part in this week’s WITU Challenge. Check back next week for more!

39 Responses

  1. Durty Joe says

    Mercury / Messenger

  2. Sofia says

    Mercury ?

  3. joe the smarter says

    Afghanistan at twilight.

  4. Dan Tillmanns says

    Mercury. Why is your IT messed up?

  5. Jorge says

    A cratered body with signs of tectonic activity? There are several. The crater density doesn’t seem to be big enough for this to be the Moon or Mercury. Is it Enceladus? Shot during one of the close-range Cassini flybys?

  6. Joel Raupe says

    Looks somewhat like Lacus Mortis, on the Moon, between NE Serenitatis and Hercules and Atlas craters.

    The low solar phase angle leaves me uncertain, however.

  7. Clayton says

    no no, it’s an extreme close-up of Bill Murray.

  8. Yael Dragwyla says

    I’ll go with Mercury, as viewed by MESSENGER. There’s an odd regularity to the pattern of those craters that I don’t recall from the Moon.

  9. Adam says

    It’s Mercury’s lava plains shot by MESSENGER.

  10. Arneb says

    This looks so much like mare basalt. So I’ll opt for the Moon, near side, maybe by Kaguya?

  11. Eduardo says

    The Moon, the indian probe

  12. Jorge says

    Strike my first guess here: I had forgotten that the craters in Enceladus usually show rounded edges, not at all this crisp. This is rock, not ice. So it’s either Mercury or the Moon.

    Not sure at all, but since I have to choose one, I’m choosing Mercury (and Messenger).

  13. RL says

    The Moon. Taken by Chandrayaan 1.

  14. Nivekkev says

    gotta go with Mercury on this one…

  15. douchechill says

    is it Saturn’s moon, Mimas?

  16. Diana says

    IO Jupiter’s moon?

  17. Diana says

    Sorry for the second post — IO Jupiter’s moon? Would have been Galileo
    spacecraft, hey if I’m right I have to get my extra points! LOL Happy Galaxy gazing everyone!

  18. Sci-Fi Si says

    I recon the moon and maybe by Chandrayaan

  19. Val Parks says

    Mercury Flyby 2, MESSENGER

  20. Joe Strickland says

    Moon, probably Tycho in the middle. The rays wouldn’t be prominent at this angle to the light. Probably from Chandraayan (sp?).

  21. Assi says

    I think that it’s the moon. Maybe one of the Apollo missions? :S

  22. Jamie says

    It is the moon and I will guess the Selene mission. I cannot remember the Japanese name for it.

  23. Zvezdichko says

    I suppose it’s MESSENGER – Mercury

  24. Member

    I think Nancy’s trying to trick us into thinking it’s as simple as the Moon, so I’m guessing Mercury/MESSENGER.

  25. Greenmistress says

    At first I thought Moon – Apollo, then Mercury – Messenger, but couldn’t it be Iapetus – Cassini?

  26. Billy bob Joe says

    I have this picture on my desktop so I know it it of Mercury by MESSENGER.

  27. JC says

    I think is Mercury, and the spacecraft is MESSENGER.

  28. Fst says

    My first guess was a picture from Mercury by Messenger.

  29. RickK says

    My first thought was Enceladus. But I’m new.

  30. 501 says

    its the lunar surface taken by the Japaneses satalite SELENE…I think 🙂

  31. D.R.R. says

    The moon. Probably from Apollo VIII

  32. Aaron Cross says

    I think it’s Murcury.

  33. neoguru says

    Not the Moon – too much smoothness and not enough cratering. Same with Mercury in my opinion. It’s gotta be a moon of one of the outer planets. I’ll guess Ganymede.

  34. Ionguy says

    hmmm..mercury messenger. One thing that might give it is the broad terminator fringe indicative of a large solar disk on the celestial body´s surface. On the moon this would be a narrower region; here it looks broad. Craters with central peaks tend to be wide so this must be a large body.

  35. GARY GEORGE says

    The rige line to the left of the craters doesn’t look like anything on the moon that we have seen pictures of before, and i don’t believe it’s Mercury, not enough craters in the picture, most of the pictures that i have seen of Mercury shows in detail a lot of craters in such a small picture, so i’m in agreement with “neoguru” it’s Ganymede

  36. Sofista says

    It’s a large impact basin imaged by MESSENGER with the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) instrument on Mercury Flyby 2.

  37. Foote says

    Knew it was Mercury from MESSENGER straight away. It was the creater debris that gave it away.

    lol at all the ppl that were so convinced it was the moon. 😛

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