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Light-Dark Enigma
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Light-Dark Enigma

October 26, 2009
The Cassini spacecraft captures a far-off view of the two-toned surface of Saturn's moon Iapetus.

Scientists continue to investigate the nature of this moon's surface. See The Other Side of Iapetus to learn more.

This view looks toward the Saturn-facing side of Iapetus (1,471 kilometers, or 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 45 degrees to the left. Scale in the original image was 22 kilometers (14 miles) per pixel. The image has been magnified by a factor of three and contrast-enhanced to aid visibility.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 24, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 3.7 million kilometers (2.3 million miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 12 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.


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