July 21, 2010
The Cassini spacecraft looks toward a crescent of Saturn's moon Iapetus and glimpses a bit of that moon's yin-yang appearance.
Scientists continue to investigate the nature of this moon's dark and light surface. See Global View of Iapetus' Dichotomy to learn more. Lit terrain seen here is in the transition area between the Saturn-facing side and trailing hemisphere of Iapetus (1,471 kilometers, or 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is roughly up and rotated 13 degrees to the left. The south pole is to left of the terminator at the bottom of the image.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 4, 2010. 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 130 degrees. Image scale is 9 kilometers (6 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