The moon with the split personality, Iapetus, presents a puzzling appearance. One hemisphere of the moon is very dark, while the other is very bright. Whether the moon is being coated by foreign material, or being resurfaced by material from within is not yet known.
At 1,471 kilometers (914 miles across), Iapetus is about 2.5 times smaller than our own Moon.
The brightness variations in this image are real. The face of Iapetus visible here was observed at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of about 10 degrees.
The image was taken in visible light with the narrow angle camera on July 3, 2004, from a distance of 3 million kilometers (1.8 million miles) from Iapetus. The image scale is 18 kilometers (11 miles) per pixel. The image was magnified by a factor of two to aid visibility.
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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.