Raw image of Saturn's moon Iapetus
This is a 'raw', or unprocessed, image of Saturn's 'yin-yang' moon Iapetus taken by the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens spacecraft.
The US Voyager spacecraft first imaged this curious moon, 1436 kilometres wide, with light and dark hemispheres. The dark hemisphere is the side of Iapetus that leads in its orbit. In this view, both light and dark areas are clearly visible.
This raw image was taken on 3 July 2004 from a distance of 2 966 991 kilometres, just before Cassini-Huygens began its transit behind the Sun. Besides Iapetus, it also took pictures of Saturn’s other moons Mimas, Tethys and Rhea.
The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft emerged from behind the Sun on 12 July after being in 'solar conjunction' since 5 July. Solar conjunction occurs when the Sun is between the spacecraft and Earth. During this time, the spacecraft conducts only limited science observations.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a co-operative project of NASA, ESA and ASI, the Italian space agency.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute