PIA18307: Path to the Dark Side

Path to the Dark Side


The moon Iapetus, like the "force" in Star Wars, has both a light side and a dark side.

Scientists think that Iapetus' (914 miles or 1471 kilometers across) dark/light asymmetry was actually created by material migrating away from the dark side. For a simulation of how scientists think the asymmetry formed, see Thermal Runaway Model .

Lit terrain seen here is on the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Iapetus. North on Iapetus is up and rotated 43 degrees to the right. The image was taken in green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Jan. 4, 2015.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 2.5 million miles (4 million kilometers) from Iapetus. Image scale is 15 miles (24 kilometers) per pixel.

Background Info:

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. 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 and http://www.nasa.gov/cassini . The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org .

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target Iapetus Saturn
System Saturn
Target Type Satellite Planet
Mission Cassini-Huygens
Instrument Host Cassini Orbiter
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)
Detector Narrow Angle Camera
Extra Keywords Grayscale, Rotation, Thermal, Visual
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2015-03-09
Date in Caption 2015-01-04
Image Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18307
Identifier PIA18307