This Week’s Where In The Universe Challenge

Article written: 3 Dec , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

Are you ready for another Where In The Universe Challenge? Take a look at the image above and see if you can name where in the Universe this image is from. Give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for the image. We’ll provide the image today, but won’t reveal the answer until tomorrow. This gives you a chance to mull over the image and provide your answer/guess in the comment section — if you dare! Check back tomorrow on this same post to see how you did. Good luck!

UPDATE (12/4): The answer has now been posted below. If you haven’t made your guess yet, no peeking before you do!!

A variety of guesses this week, but many answers were correct: Saturn’s moon Iapetus. The Cassini spacraft zoomed in on the cratered moon to provide this stunning close-up. And did you know you can golf the moons of Saturn? The Cassini scientists created a Flash-based game based on some of the best images from the spacecraft’s tour of Saturn and its moons. It’s called Golf Sector 6, and its pretty fun. As many of you mentioned, this image shows the equatorial bulge of Iapetus, with mountainous terrain reaching about 10 km in height. Above the middle of the image can be seen a place where an impact has exposed the bright ice beneath the dark overlying material.

The image was taken on 10 September 2007 with the Cassini’s narrow-angle camera at a distance of approximately 3870 km from Iapetus. Image scale is 23 m per pixel. Credits: NASA/ JPL/ Space Science Institute.

And you know-it-alls out there don’t have to provide links to images or videos in your guesses! Give everyone the equal chance to play, please!

Tune in again next week for another WITU challenge!

47 Responses

  1. Dan Tillmanns says images/Iapetus_mountain

    Iapetus, from Cassini

  2. Odisea Cosmica Blog says

    They ‘re are pretty sure it’s Iapetus. My first glance pointed to Phoebe. It Looks like a little bit Phobos but if you stare the terrain is icy not rocky so it’s not Phobos definitely.

  3. Luis Saldarriaga says

    Ryan Anderson is right. That’s Iapetus bulge (The Himalayas of Iapetus). There’s a related nice movie you can see here:

  4. Max Fagin says

    Phobos. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

  5. Thomas says

    It’s Iapetus’ equatorial rige, taken by Cassini during a close flyby (last year?).

  6. The equatorial ridge on Iapetus, as seen by Cassini during its close flyby.

  7. Jacques says

    Asteroid Eros by NEAR

  8. Jorge says

    OK, this one isn’t easy. So I’ll split my answer in two parts:

    What I know: this is a photo of one of Saturn’s moons, taken by Cassini.

    What I think is correct but I’m not sure: I think the moon is Iapetus, namely its equatorial bulge. But it can also be one of the largest irregular moons (not Hyperion, though).

    Still, I’ll put my virtual money on Iapetus. That tiny crater in the upper center surrounded by light terrain just cries out Iapetus to me.

  9. Dan Reyes says

    I have to go with Ryan on this one; It is Cassini.

  10. Fst says

    I think it’s one of Mars moons.

  11. ioresult says

    Iapetus surface close-up by Cassini

  12. maudyfish says

    Saturn’s moon Phoebe?

  13. maudyfish says

    Stand corrected it’s Iapetus of Saturn’s moons!

  14. Daniel says

    Mmm, thats lapetus (saturn’s moon) but the image tries to confuse with phobos. Cassini.

  15. Navneeth says

    It’s definitely one of Mars’ satellites. Don’t know which craft, though.

  16. Marjie Cheesman says

    The Himalayas of Iapetus. Taken 1o September 2007 from Cassini

  17. Jeff says

    I’m going for Phoebe, photographed by Cassini.

  18. The 327th Male says

    Definitely cassini, but I don’t know the moon off the top of my head.

  19. Bob says

    One of the many outstanding shots of Iapetus from the Cassini flyby.

  20. Dark Gnat says

    Close up of equatorial bulge of Iapetus, imaged by Cassini.

  21. Naia says

    Equatorial ridge on moldy Iapetus, formed eons ago when the cheese was much softer, pitcher by Cassini.

  22. Astrofiend says

    Iapetus’ equatorial awesomeness.

    I reckon it is the most intriguing geological formation in the solar system.

  23. stargazerdude says


  24. ringman says

    A picture of Hyperion by Cassini?

  25. Starpsycho says

    An asteroid, though I’m not even close to sure. I’m not able to name it or the ship taking the picture either.

  26. Steve says

    Iapetus by Cassini, only because Ive seen the flyby movie. Otherwise I would have said Hyperion

  27. RL says

    My guess is that this is a photo of the asteroid Eros taken by NEAR.

  28. hd says

    Eros is my best guess, too.

  29. jay says

    Eros, I guess. Looks pretty much like an asteroid.

  30. ESA Exile says

    Surely Eros taken by NEAR Shoemaker.

  31. ESA Exile says

    Okay, I got it wrong. The high curvature stopped me thinking about moons. It’s Iapetus by Cassini.

  32. mustafa says

    phobos by esa Mars Express

  33. Ian Grech says

    My first thought was an asteroid but based on popular replies here and finalised by a Google search, it is Iapetus’ Ridge.

  34. Adam says

    Iapetus/Cassini (but my first guess was Eros/NEAR).

  35. Antti o says

    Iapetus, one of the moons of Saturnus, I recognized straight the image although couldn’t remember the name of the moon, so I had to rely on my notes. I’m a cheat, so no points to me. Auch.

  36. thorka says

    Eros taken by NEAR, is my guess.

  37. Mr. Obvious says

    It is bad enough to use Google or other research methods after other people give guesses, so you have something to work with. However… it is absolutely STUPID and MORONIC to come back here, post your answer and method of validation. You ruin the whole challenge to satisfy your neediness.

    You also prove the lack of intelligence by those who are needingly narcissistic… and how they must blab some answer just to get noticed, and overcome their insecurity around people who are educated enough to come up with the answer without cheating.

    For you it is better to be silent and have people wonder about your intelligence than to make an idiotic comment and remove all doubt.

  38. Gordan says

    ^^ What they said.

    Iapetus. Cassini.

  39. Robert Branch says

    The asteroid Eros.

  40. neoguru says

    The Moon or Mercury. I’ll opt for Mercury – it seems smoother then the moon.

  41. Gavin Flower says

    An asteroid, specifically the one landed on by a probe (NEAR?).

  42. Eduardo says

    Bien dicho Nancy! nada de imágenes ni vínculos… eso no es hacer trampa, pero es como quitarle el sabor al juego.

    Muy agradable la selección de esta semana, gracias al fondo de espacio se veía muy bien como un “donde en el universo” cualquiera.


  43. Shaib//////////ow says

    nice one !!!

  44. wanderingspace says

    its iapetus… no doubt. the voyager mountain range that runs around the equator.

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