Oblate Iapetus

The oblate shape of the moon Iapetus is particularly noticeable in this portrait.
February 24, 2010
PIA NumberPIA12556
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The oblate shape of the moon Iapetus is particularly noticeable in this portrait.

The two-toned surface of the moon Iapetus also stands out against the darkness of space in this image. See Global View of Iapetus' Dichotomy to learn more about the brightness dichotomy on Iapetus.

This view looks toward the Saturn-facing side of Iapetus (1,471 kilometers, or 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 26 degrees to the left.

Scale in the original image was 22 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 image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 16, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 3.6 million kilometers (2.2 million miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 27 degrees.

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.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute