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Only a sliver of Dione is visible as the Cassini spacecraft looks at the dark side of the moon.
In a high-phase viewing geometry like the one in which this picture was taken, the sun and the spacecraft are on nearly opposite sides of the moon. Here, only a narrow crescent reflects light forward toward Cassini's camera. The outline of a crater is just visible in the southern hemisphere.
This view looks toward the leading hemisphere of Dione. North on Dione is up and rotated 2 degrees to the right. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Feb. 25, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 484,000 kilometers (301,000 miles) from Dione and at a sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 166 degrees. Image scale is 3 kilometers (2 miles) per pixel.
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.