CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Scratches on Dione

Scratches on Dione
PIA 09764

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  Bright, wispy fractures streak across Dione's trailing side. Following the Voyager flybys of the early 1980s, scientists considered the possibility that the streaks were bright material extruded by cryovolcanism. A quarter-century later, Cassini's close passes and sharp vision showed these features to be a system of braided canyons with bright walls.

North on Dione (1,123 kilometers, 698 miles across) is up.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Sept. 30, 2007. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 45,000 kilometers (28,000 miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 36 degrees. Image scale is 3 kilometers (2 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. 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-Huygens mission, visit and the Cassini imaging team home page,

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: November 5, 2007 (PIA 09764)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
vista (Dec 1, 2007 at 4:13 AM):
I wish to know how big are the canyon's on Dione, how deep are the likely to be or how long are they?. The appear in this image to stretch, for may hundred of

Rich777 (Nov 30, 2007 at 1:54 PM):
What could have formed these canyons? Is there a different chemical composition in the canyons as compared to the surrounding areas? Another excellent view of a world needing to be explored further. =)