CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Dione's Pockmarked Side

Dione's Pockmarked Side
PIA 11456

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  A broad impact basin hints at Dione's split personality in this image from Cassini.

Dione's leading hemisphere is heavily cratered by impacts while its trailing hemisphere features bright ice cliffs created by tectonic fractures. This view looks toward the anti-Saturn side of Dione, a transition area between the two hemispheres where pockmarks give way to cracks.

North on Dione (1123 kilometers, 698 miles across) is up and rotated 26 degrees to the right. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 28, 2008. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 785,000 kilometers (488,000 miles) from Dione and at a Sun-Dione-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 70 degrees. Image scale is 5 kilometers (3 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini Equinox 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 Equinox Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Released: March 25, 2009 (PIA 11456)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Dragon_of_Luck_Mah_Jonng1971 (May 3, 2009 at 6:48 PM):
Just left to the large impact basin visible here there could be a similar basin of the same size. Below the fully-lit basin there is a structure which looks enigmatic and that has removed craters that had been there before, I suppose. That one may be of internal origin.
Also a fact visible here is that the areas shown ouside the ( two ) very large basins and the enigmatic structure differ by crater density. Thus there was Dionean activity in parts of them that removed old craters( by processes perhaps similar to those ones on Enceladus ).

A remarkable image because it's showing a lot of details although so small ( only 27 Kb as a JPEG ).
Red_dragon (Mar 25, 2009 at 8:14 AM):
Very interesting image. It's also quite interesting to compare the basin that dominates this view of Dione with Tethys' huge crater Odysseus (for example, note how Odysseus seems to lack the internal ring Dione's basin has)