CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

A Moon's Contrasts
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Dione reveals its past via contrasts in this view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The features visible here are a mixture of tectonics -- the bright, linear features -- and impact cratering -- the round features, which are spread across the entire surface.

Tectonic features tell the story of how Dione (698 miles or 1,123 kilometers across) has been heated and cooled since its formation, and scientists use those clues to piece together the moon's past. Impact craters are evidence of external debris striking the surface, and thus they tell about the environment in which the moon has existed over its history.

This view looks toward the trailing hemisphere of Dione. North on Dione is up. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini narrow-angle camera on April 11, 2015.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 68,000 miles (110,000 kilometers) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 28 degrees. Image scale is 2,165 feet (660 meters) per pixel.


The Cassini Solstice 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 Solstice Mission visit http://ciclops.org, http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: August 22, 2016 (PIA 20492)
Image/Caption Information
  A Moon's Contrasts
PIA 20492

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Alliance Member Comments
NeKto (Aug 22, 2016 at 9:45 PM):
i didn't know Dione had such high contrasts. for a moment, i thought i was looking at Iapetus.
were the contrasts enhanced?

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