Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

October 15, 1995
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Iapetus: Saturn's Disappearing Moon
Credit: NASA, Voyager, Copyright Calvin J. Hamilton

Explanation: Iapetus has an unusual surface, one half of which is very dark, the other half very light. This caused it's discoverer Cassini to remark that Iapetus could only be seen when on one side of Saturn but not the other. The reason for the difference between hemispheres is presently unknown. Iapetus is the third largest of Saturn's moon behind Titan and Rhea. Iapetus is composed predominantly of water ice.

Tomorrow's picture: Starburst Galaxy M94

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