CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
The Himalayas of Iapetus

The Himalayas of Iapetus
PIA 08372

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  This stunning close-up view shows mountainous terrain that reaches about 10 kilometers (6 miles) high along the unique equatorial ridge of Iapetus. The view was acquired during Cassini's only close flyby of the two-toned Saturn moon.

Above the middle of the image can be seen a place where an impact has exposed the bright ice beneath the dark overlying material.

The image was taken on Sept. 10, 2007 with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 3,870 kilometers (2,400 miles) from Iapetus. Image scale is 23 meters (75 feet) 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: September 12, 2007 (PIA 08372)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (Oct 11, 2008 at 6:44 PM):
The most exciting moments for me of the Cassini/Huygens mission were the October 2004 Images of Titan, the first Titan Radar Images showing something like rivers of methane/ethane, the confirmation of the newly-discovered Titanian lakes, the January 2005 landing of Huygens on Titan and the September 2007 Iapetus Flyby ! All these things worked very well -- so that I mustn't complain about losses of important data. All the people involved in this mission prepared and planned it so exactly that all my 'top events' up to the first october 2008 Enceladus flyby were fulfilled completely.
spin0 (Sep 20, 2007 at 9:50 AM):
Amazing images!! Very big thank you to Cassini-imaging team!

Last week I compiled a Iapetus flyby-video of Cassini's images. I did change the order of images a little to get a smoother motion. The video illustrates where each image were taken and how they link to each other. And looks cool too! :)
link to the video:

I also made a couple of quick mosaics of intriguing features of Iapetus.
Here's a b&w "quick and dirty" but interesting mosaic of transition zone between "dark" and "light" sides:

I also composited a colour mosaic of images taken from Iapetus' terminator zone. Here you can clearly see those mysterious "scratches" or faults on the moons surface. What could those be?
It's a big image (1385x4698px), big file (4,56MB) - and you'll have to wait 30s for the download link:
Breitstar (Sep 19, 2007 at 5:56 PM):
If you havn't watched the Iapetus flybgy greeting by Aurther Clarke you are truly missing something special. I was captivated by every sylable he spoke about the writing of 2001 A Space Odyssey. The passion for his writing and old #6 oozes out of every word. The sparkle in his eyes about the Saturnian system brought a chill to my mind as I rode with him into orbit. What a master !!!
chris (Sep 17, 2007 at 12:20 PM):
BEAUTIFUL IMAGES, guys! Very reminiscent of the Phoebe close-ups (at least this one is), and definitely worth the 3+ year wait.