CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
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PIA 11608

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  Cassini captures a far-off view of the two-toned surface of Saturn's moon Iapetus.

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

This view looks toward the Saturn-facing side of Iapetus (1471 kilometers, 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 45 degrees to the left. Scale in the original image was 22 kilometers (14 miles) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of three and contrast-enhanced to aid visibility.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 24, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 3.7 million kilometers (2.3 million miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 12 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: October 23, 2009 (PIA 11608)
Image/Caption Information

Alliance Member Comments
Red_dragon (Oct 23, 2009 at 6:08 PM):
Nice image, with Iapetus posing with is Death Star-like look.

As a side note, why aren't in CICLOPS those three impressive color images on Cassini website? ( "Enigmatic Titan", for example, is truly, truly beautiful.