Full Color Sets

MESSENGER MDIS 11 Filter Color Test Images

The MDIS camera was able to acquire critical test images through 11 filters during portions of the Earth flyby. Since each image with a different filter is taken about 5 seconds apart, there are slight offsets from frame to frame within a single color set. Two different three-filter combinations were processed such that each filter was registered to within 1/10 of a pixel of each other.

The first color picture in each row of the table was formed by compositing the co-registered C, D, and E filters (480, 560, 630 nm) to form a "natural" color image. Of course, natural color is in the eye of the beholder, everybody sees colors a little differently, and the filters do not exactly match average human color sensitivity, but they come pretty close.

The second color version shows us the Earth in a combination of visible and near-infrared light (D, E, and G filters). Continents appear red because chlorophyll in vegetation is highly reflective in the near-infrared.

The Earth departure movie frames were taken only in the three visible-light filters.

If you want to try your hand at making different color composites, all 11-filter images are available to the right of the composites. Remember that to get really sharp images, you may need to shift the filters relative to each other a small amount using your favorite image manipulation software.

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