Only a slice of Iapetus is illuminated in this image, but still the Cassini spacecraft spies the distinctive two-tone surface of this distant Saturnian moon.
Lit terrain seen here is on the leading hemisphere of Iapetus (1,471 kilometers, or 914 miles across). North on Iapetus is up and rotated 13 degrees to the left.
The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.7 million kilometers (1.7 million miles) from Iapetus and at a Sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 111 degrees. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 3, 2009. Image scale is 16 kilometers (10 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.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.