December 12, 2004
These spectacular Cassini images of Saturn's moon Iapetus show an enticing world of contrasts. These are the sharpest views of Iapetus from Cassini so far, and they represent better resolution than the best images of this moon achieved by NASA's Voyager spacecraft. These views show parts of the moon's anti-Saturn side - the side that faces away from the ringed planet--which will not be imaged again by Cassini until Sept., 2007. In the central view, part of the moon's eastern edge was not imaged and appears to be cut off. With a diameter of 1,436 kilometers (892 miles), Iapetus is Saturn's third largest moon. It is famous for the dramatic contrasts in brightness on its surface - the leading hemisphere is as dark as a freshly-tarred street, and the trailing hemisphere and poles almost as bright as snow. These images were taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow angle camera between Oct, 15 and 20, 2004, at distances of 1.2, 1.1 and 1.3 million kilometers (746,000, 684,000 and 808,000 miles) from Iapetus, respectively.
Topics: Moons of Saturn, Astronomy, Planetary science, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Technology Internet, Cassini Regio, Cassini–Huygens, Iapetus, Phoebe, Saturn, Solar System