Iapetus shows off its puzzling light and dark terrain.
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 in the original image was 7 kilometers (5 miles) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of 2 and contrast-enhanced to aid visibility.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 13, 2009. The view was obtained 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.