CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Eyeing Erulus Crater

Cassini snapped this shot of cratered Dione as it flew by the Saturnian moon on Oct. 17, 2010.

The large crater at the center of the image is Erulus which is about 120 kilometers, or 75 miles, across. This view looks toward the southern latitudes of the leading hemisphere of Dione (1123 kilometers, 698 miles across).

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 41,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 53 degrees. Image scale is 240 meters (787 feet) 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, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: December 6, 2010 (PIA 12743)
Image/Caption Information
  Eyeing Erulus Crater
PIA 12743

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Alliance Member Comments
Mercury_3488 (Dec 6, 2010 at 3:08 PM):
Lovely image & fantastic perspective too. One thing immediately obvious to me anyway, not just Erulus Crater is that, a similar view of Tehtys & Rhea would be saturated by small craters. Dione seen here is not. There are some small craters for sure, bet the terrain generally looks 'fresher' & more evolved.

Erulus Crater itself has an interesting central mountain almost Y shaped, certainly obvious on other images taken from further away. More like two ridges in the centre of the crater rather than your typical central crater mountains, like those in the lunar crater Copernicus or the Mimas crater Herschel. Iapetus too shows a few craters with central ridges rather than mountains in the normal sense.

Wonder if Dione has an exosphere like the one recently announced at Rhea?? Dione may still be geologically active on a small scale & certainly apart from Titan & Enceladus is the most evolved of Saturn's moons.

Andrew Brown.