CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

The Light of Night
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The Light of Night
PIA 09889

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  As Cassini images often show, the Sun is not the only source of illumination in the Saturn System. The huge, reflective planet also shines upon its moons.

The left side of this image is illuminated by the Sun, and most of the right side is lit by reflected light from Saturn.

This image was acquired by Cassini two minutes after PIA09886 and looks almost directly at down onto the north pole of Dione (1,123 kilometers, 698 miles across)

Several background stars made faint trails across the sky during this long exposure.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 22, 2008. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 649,000 kilometers (403,000 miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 99 degrees. Image scale is 4 kilometers (2 miles) per pixel.

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 Science Mission Directorate, 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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: April 25, 2008 (PIA 09889)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Mercury_3488 (Apr 27, 2008 at 11:32 AM):
Very nice image of Dione.

Even in Saturn-shine on the night side on the large ice covered moon, a wide range of surface features are visible, displaying a dynamic past on Dione, one of the most interesting of Saturn's moons.

The overexposed day side will be ideal to search for possible geysers on the limb, a long shot I know, but worth a try.

Andrew Brown.

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