Saturn’s Satellite Iapetus

Saturn’s Satellite Iapetus

Cassini captures the first high-resolution glimpse of the bright trailing hemisphere of Saturn's moon Iapetus. This false-color mosaic shows the entire hemisphere of Iapetus (1,468 kilometers, or 912 miles across) visible from Cassini on the outbound leg of its encounter with the two-toned moon in Sept. 2007.  Also shown here is the complicated transition region between the dark leading and bright trailing hemispheres. This region, visible along the right side of the image, was observed in many of the images acquired by Cassini near closest approach during the encounter. Revealed here for the first time in detail are the geologic structures that mark the trailing hemisphere. The region appears heavily cratered, particularly in the north and south polar regions. The most prominent topographic feature in this view, in the bottom half of the mosaic, is a 450-kilometer (280-mile) wide impact basin, one of at least nine such large basins on Iapetus. In fact, the basin overlaps an older, similar-sized impact basin to its southeast. The view was acquired with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 10, 2007, at a distance of about 73,000 kilometers (45,000 miles) from Iapetus.

 

  • Catalog Number: NASA-PIA08384
  • Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
  • For print or commercial use please contact NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • Large JPEG (640 x 640 pixels)