CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Eyes on Xanadu

Eyes on Xanadu
PIA 06107

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  This Titan image, revealing the bright 'continent-sized' terrain known as Xanadu, was acquired with the narrow angle camera through a spectral filter centered at 938 nm, a wavelength region at which Titan's surface can be most easily detected. We see the surface at higher contrast then in previously-released ISS images due to a lower phase angle (sun-Titan-Cassini angle), a viewing geometry which minimizes scattering by the haze. The image shows details about 10 times smaller than can be seen from the Earth. Surface materials with different brightnesses (or albedos) rather than topographic shading are being seen. The image has been calibrated and slightly contrast-enhanced. Further processing to reduce atmospheric blurring and optimize the mapping of surface features will be released soon. The origin and geography of Xanada (erosion of highlands, volcanism, impact cratering, etc.) remain mysteries at this range. Bright features near the south pole (bottom) are clouds. Tomorrow, Cassini will acquire images from about 100 times closer range and higher resolution, showing features in the left-central portion of this image.

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: October 25, 2004 (PIA 06107)
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