CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Iapetus' Puzzling Surface
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Cassini examines the rough dark-light dichotomy of the terrain on Saturn's moon Iapetus.

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 (1471 kilometers, 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 8 degrees to the left. Scale on Iapetus was 7 kilometers (5 miles) per pixel in the original image. The image was contrast enhanced and magnified by a factor of two to enhance the visibility of surface features.

The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 13, 2009. The view was acquired 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 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: January 6, 2010 (PIA 12521)
Image/Caption Information
  Iapetus' Puzzling Surface
PIA 12521

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