CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Bite Out of Iapetus
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Bite Out of Iapetus
PIA 12626

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  A large dark region fills a semicircle of the visible disk of Iapetus on the left of this Cassini image, appearing like a bite taken out of Saturn's moon.

See PIA11690 to learn more about this brightness dichotomy on Iapetus. This view looks toward the Saturn-facing side of Iapetus (1471 kilometers, 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 20 degrees to the right.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 6, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 3.9 million kilometers (2.4 million miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 18 degrees. Scale in the original image was 23 kilometers (14 miles) per pixel. The image was contrast enhanced and magnified by a factor of three to enhance the visibility of surface features.

The Cassini Equinox Mission is a joint United States and European endeavor. 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 was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. 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.

For more information about the Cassini Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: May 5, 2010 (PIA 12626)
Image/Caption Information