Half-Lit Dione

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

October 16, 2017 – Saturn’s moon Dione is captured in this view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, half in shadow and half in light. Sinuous canyons carve interconnected paths across the moon’s icy landscape. Subtle variations in brightness hint at differences in composition, as well as the size and shape of grains in Dione‚Äôs surface material, or regolith.

Cassini spent more than a decade at Saturn studying Dione (698 miles or 1,123 kilometers across) and the planet’s many other moons as part of the quest to understand how the moons formed and evolved, and how they are connected.

This view looks toward the side of Dione that faces away from Saturn. North is up and rotated 59 degrees to the right. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on June 22, 2017.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 224,000 miles (360,000 kilometers) from Dione. Image scale is 1.4 mile (2.2 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini spacecraft ended its mission on September 15, 2017.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (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. 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, Colorado.