With its light and dark surface, Iapetus appears almost like a yin and yang symbol or a comma punctuation mark in this Cassini spacecraft image.
See PIA11690 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 is up and rotated 41 degrees to the right.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 12, 2010. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.5 million kilometers (932,000 miles) from Iapetus and at a sun-Iapetus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 74 degrees. Image scale is 9 kilometers (6 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.