CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

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Light and dark terrain covers the surface of Saturn's moon Iapetus in this Cassini image.

See PIA11690 to learn more about the brightness dichotomy on Iapetus. Lit terrain seen here is on the area between the Saturn-facing side and trailing hemisphere of Iapetus (1471 kilometers, 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 4 degrees to the right.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 1, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (870,000 miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 100 degrees. Image scale is 8 kilometers (5 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.

For more information about the Cassini Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: June 17, 2010 (PIA 12657)
Image/Caption Information
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PIA 12657

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