CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Big Crater Down South

A large crater can be seen in the southern hemisphere of Saturn's two-tone moon Iapetus.

Lit terrain seen here is on the trailing hemisphere of Iapetus (914 miles, 1471 kilometers across), a moon whose leading hemisphere is extremely dark and whose trailing hemisphere is as white as snow. This view is looking toward the south polar region of the moon located near the bottom of the image in the unilluminated area immediately to the left of the terminator.

A dark region on the moon can be seen at the top of this view. See PIA11690 and PIA12604 to learn more about Iapetus' color dichotomy.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on July 13, 2012. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.2 million miles (2 million kilometers) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 93 degrees. Scale in the original image was 7 miles (12 kilometers) per pixel. The image was contrast enhanced and magnified by a factor of 1.5 to enhance the visibility of surface features.

The Cassini Solstice 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 Solstice Mission visit, and

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Released: September 3, 2012 (PIA 14624)
Image/Caption Information
  Big Crater Down South
PIA 14624

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