Iapetus shows off its puzzling light and dark terrain in this image captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing side of Iapetus.
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Iapetus' Terrain

Iapetus shows off its puzzling light and dark terrain.

Scientists continue to investigate the nature of this moon's surface. See PIA08384 to learn more. Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing side of Iapetus (1,471 kilometers, or 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 8 degrees to the left. Scale in the original image was 7 kilometers (5 miles) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of 2 and contrast-enhanced to aid visibility.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 13, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (746,000 miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 103 degrees.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org

Image details

ID#:
PIA11632

Date added:
2009-11-26

Target:
Iapetus

Mission:
Cassini-Huygens

Spacecraft:
Cassini Orbiter

Instruments:
Imaging Science Subsystem - Narrow Angle

Rating:



Views:
2,434

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA11632.tif (0.45 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA11632.jpg (0.01 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute