Dark Interrupting Bright
June 17, 2010
Light and dark terrain covers the surface of Saturn's moon Iapetus in this Cassini spacecraft image.
Lit terrain seen here is on the area between the Saturn-facing side and trailing hemisphere of Iapetus (1,471 kilometers, or 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 4 degrees to the right. See Global View of Iapetus' Dichotomy to learn more about Iapetus's unusual bright/dark coloring.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 1, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.4 million kilometers (870,000 miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 100 degrees. Image scale is 8 kilometers (5 miles) per pixel.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. 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 and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute