Astonishing Iapetus

As an astronomer with a geological twist, I find the Cassini images of Iapetus nothing short of astounding. Or did I say astonishing?

Iapetus is referred to as the “yin-yang moon,” because one hemisphere is snowy white and the other is coal black. Why? Were these contrasts imposed from within the moon? Or did some event in Saturn’s orbit color Iapetus as it is? The news release from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory acknowledges more questions than answers at present.

What to make of the black spots on frost-white terrain:

Or this intermediate landscape:

Or these white patches on a dark mountainous region:

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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