CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Black Blemish

Black Blemish
PIA 12692

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  A crescent Saturn is blemished by a black spot of its moon Dione seen orbiting between the planet and the Cassini spacecraft.

Although Dione appears as only a black dot, there is actually a thin crescent of lit terrain on the moon, just as there is on Saturn. However, the lit terrain on Dione is lost in front of the brilliant backdrop of Saturn.

This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane.

The image was taken in visible red light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Oct. 27, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 120 degrees. Image scale is 136 kilometers (84 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: August 5, 2010 (PIA 12692)
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