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Iapetus is heavily cratered, and Cassini images have revealed large impact basins, at least five of which are over 350 km (220 mi) wide. The second largest, Turgis , has a diameter of 580 km (360 mi);  its rim is extremely steep and includes a scarp about 15 km (9.3 mi) high. 
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Iapetus is named after the mythological Iapetus. It is also designated Saturn VIII. Giovanni Cassini named the four moons he discovered (Tethys, Dione, Rhea and Iapetus) Sidera Lodoicea ("the stars of Louis") to honour king Louis XIV. However, astronomers fell into the habit of referring to them and Titan as Saturn I through Saturn V. Once Mimas and Enceladus were discovered in 1789, the numbering scheme was extended to Saturn VII. The names of all seven satellites of Saturn then known come from John Herschel (son of William Herschel, discoverer of Mimas and Enceladus) in his 1847 publication Results of Astronomical Observations made at the Cape of Good Hope, wherein he suggested the names of the Titans, sisters and brothers of Cronos (the Greek Saturn), be used.
The orbit of Iapetus is somewhat unusual. Although it is the Saturn's third-largest moon, it orbits much farther from Saturn than the next closest major moon, Titan. It has also the most inclined orbital plane of the regular satellites; only the irregular outer satellites like Phoebehave more inclined orbits. The cause of this is unknown. Because of this distant, inclined orbit, Iapetus is the only large moon from which the rings of Saturnwould be clearly visible; from the other inner moons, the rings would be edge-on and difficult to see.
The low density of Iapetus indicates that it is primarily composed of ice, with only a small amount of rocky materials. Furthermore, the overall shape of Iapetus is neither spherical nor ellipsoid—unusual for a large moon; parts of its globe appear to be squashed flat, and its unique equatorial ridge (see below) is so high that it visibly distorts the moon's shape even when viewed from a distance. Scientists are currently unable to describe Iapetus's shape perfectly as the Cassiniprobe has not yet imaged its entire surface. Current triaxial measurements of Iapetus give it dimensions of 747.1 × 749 × 712.6 km, with a mean radius of 736 ±2km. Iapetus is a heavily cratered body, and Cassiniimages have revealed large impact basins in the dark region, at least three of which are over 350 km wide. The largest has a diameter over 500 km; its rim is extremely steep and includes a scarp over 15 km high.
The oddness of Iapetus has occasionally led to speculation that it may be an artificial construction by extraterrestrials. In 1980, Donald Goldsmith and Tobias Owensuggested that the striking bicoloration of Iapetus might be the result of alien modification of a natural object. In 2005, Richard C. Hoaglandspeculated that Iapetus might be a fully or partially artificially constructed world by an ancient (and likely long-gone) extraterrestrial civilization. His thesis relies on the moon's angular shape (unusual in a moon of Iapetus's size, which ought to be compressed into an approximately spherical or ellipsoid form under pressures generated by its own gravity), the equatorial ridge, and a close examination of surface features. The scientific mainstream considers such ideas fanciful at best.↑ http://home.gwi.net/~pluto/mpecs/ss08.htm#elements↑ http://adsabs.harvard.edu//full/seri/MNRAS/0008//0000042.000.html↑ Thomas, P. C., Veverka, J.; Helfenstein, P.; Porco, C.; Burns, J.; Denk, T.; Turtle, E.; Jacobson, R. A. (March 13-17 2006). "Shapes of the Saturnian Icy Satellites". 37th Annual Lunar and Planet...↑ Hendrix, A. R., Hansen, C. J. (March 14-18 2005). "Iapetus and Phoebe as Measured by the Cassini UVIS". 36th Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.Astronomy Picture of the Dayarticle on Iapetus
Nov 30, 2020 · Iapetus' very low density, similar to that of water, suggests it's mostly composed of water ice with just a small rocky component. The space probes Voyager and especially Cassini have found Iapetus to be a very heavily cratered body, scarred with a whole lot of impact craters, with several large basins, the largest of which, named Turgis, gives it a very Death Star -like look.
Iapetus ("the Piercer") is the one Titan mentioned by Homer in the Iliad as being in Tartarus with Cronus. He is a brother of Cronus, who ruled the world during the Golden Age. Iapetus' wife is usually described as a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys named either Clymene (according to Hesiod and Hyginus) or Asia (according to Pseudo-Apollodorus).
material seems to be concentrated in crater floors. This would indicate an internal origin. Since Iapetus is so far from Saturn, it may have formed with methane or ammonia ice in its interior. The dark material could be explained by eruptions of methane from its interior. This theory is supported by a dark ring of material about
n) of water ice on the surface of Iapetus, possibly darkened by exposure to sunlight.
The bright trailing edge is most heavily cratered; some of the craters have dark floors but it is not known if the dark material in them is the same as that covering Cassini Regio. The material on the leading edge is thought to be carbon-based, but it is unclear whether it was emitted from the interior of Iapetus or was debris from eruptions on other Saturnian satellites swept up by Iapetus from space.
Feb 22, 2012 · It is heavily cratered, so appears ancient. Iapetus doesn't have any other major geomorphic features other than the ridge and lots of craters. The ridge is "supported by the lithosphere without an obvious flexural signal." Don't worry, I'll explain. This last observation is really important, so I'll explain what it means.