CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Mysterious Iapetus

Mysterious Iapetus
PIA 08177

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  A distant glimpse of Iapetus reveals details within the dark terrain of Cassini Regio, including an impact basin at top that is roughly 400 kilometers (250 miles) wide.

Researchers remain unsure about the mechanism that has darkened the leading hemisphere.

This view looks toward the southern hemisphere on the leading side of Iapetus (1,471 kilometers, 914 miles across). North is up.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 4, 2006, at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (900,000 miles) from Iapetus. The image scale is 9 kilometers (6 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: May 12, 2006 (PIA 08177)
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