Big Crater Down South
September 3, 2012
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, or 1,471 kilometers across), a moon whose leading hemisphere is extremely dark and whose trailing hemisphere is as white as snow. This view looks toward the moon’s south polar region, which is visible near the lower limb of the moon. The south pole itself is in the unilluminated area immediately to the left of the terminator.
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-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-Caltech/Space Science Institute