Iapetus shows off its puzzling light and dark terrain.
Scientists continue to investigate the nature of this moon's surface. See The Other Side of Iapetus to learn more. Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing side of Iapetus (1,471 kilometers, or 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 8 degrees to the left. Scale in the original image was 7 kilometers (5 miles) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of 2 and contrast-enhanced to aid visibility.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 13, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (746,000 miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 103 degrees.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Aug. 21, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.2 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 13 kilometers (8 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