May 5, 2010
A large dark region fills a semicircle of the visible disk of Iapetus on the left of this Cassini spacecraft image, appearing like a bite taken out of this Saturnian moon.
See Global View of Iapetus' Dichotomy to learn more about Iapetus's unique bright/dark coloring. This view looks toward the Saturn-facing side of Iapetus (1,471 kilometers, or 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 20 degrees to the right.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 6, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 3.9 million kilometers (2.4 million miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft angle of 18 degrees. Scale in the original image was 23 kilometers (14 miles) per pixel. The image was contrast enhanced and magnified by a factor of three 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/Space Science Institute