CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
A Slice of Iapetus

A Slice of Iapetus
PIA 11620

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  A crescent Iapetus shows, at the top right of this image, some of the dark terrain characterizing this unusual Saturnian moon.

Scientists continue to investigate the nature of the moon's surface. See PIA08384 to learn more.

Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing side of Iapetus (1471 kilometers, 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 5 degrees to the left.

Scale in the original image was 7 kilometers (4 miles) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of two and contrast-enhanced to aid visibility.The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 11, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (746,000 miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 125 degrees.

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: November 10, 2009 (PIA 11620)
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