A Digital High-Definition Imaging System for Spectral Studies of Extended Planetary Atmospheres. I. Initial Results in White Light Showing Features on the Hemisphere of Mercury Unimaged by Mariner 10
We present an instrumentation plan for spectral imaging of Mercury's extended atmosphere. The approach depends upon simultaneous short-exposure images in white light and sodium, with the former used to select the frames for postintegration of the sodium images. The effects of atmospheric seeing are thus minimized by the combination of high-speed exposures and subsequent selective integration. The instrumentation to be used is a long-slit imaging echelle spectrometer equipped with an image slicer and an imaging photon detector. A test of the white-light component of the technique has yielded a best-to-date image of a portion of Mercury's surface not photographed during the Mariner 10 mission.