Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 28, 2013

Falsaron Crater and High Northern Latitudes on Japetus
Falsaron Crater and High Northern Latitudes on Japetus

Credits: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

As you can see in today's APOD, the use of color on Japetus is particularly helpful for discriminating between Shadows and Shadowed Areas (which appear black) and the intrinsically Dark Terrain (which appears brownish, with greenish and orange nuances) which characterizes the Cassini Regio.

This image, in fact, shows us the Northern part of the dark Cassini Regio and the Transition Zone as well as a brighter Surface located at high Northern Latitudes (a Surface, probably, covered by Ice). Within the Transition Zone, the Surface is stained by roughly North-South trending Wispy Streaks of Dark Material. However, the absence of an Atmosphere on Japetus means that such a dark material must have been deposited over there by some means other than precipitation (such as, for instance, ballistic placement from impacts occurring elsewhere on Japetus). JapetusNorth Pole is not visible here, nor is any part of its bright Trailing Hemisphere. The huge (and extremely ancient) Impact Crater visible in the lower portion of the frame, is Falsaron Crater, which as a diameter of over 400 Km (such as approx. 248 miles).

This view was obtained with the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft Narrow Angle Camera on December 31, 2004, at a distance of about 172.900 Km (such as approx. 107.371 miles) from Japetus; the resolution achieved in the original image was 1 Km (0,6 miles) per pixel.

This frame (which is an Original NASA - Cassini Spacecraft near tru-color image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 06167) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, and then re-colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Cassini Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Northern portion of the Cassini Regio of the Saturnian moon Japetus), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among others, the existence of different Elements present on the Surface of Japetus, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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