CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Meet the Poster Winners in the Cassini Favorite Image Contest

During the month of December 2007, people from across the globe dropped in on the CICLOPS website to participate in our Cassini Favorite Image Contest. The choices were not easy; some described the exercise as 'torturous.' As a special 'Thank you' to those intrepid enough to complete the task, we selected a handful of lucky individuals from the US, England, Canada and China to win a poster of the most popular color image.

Here are the three lucky individuals, randomly selected among the thousands, and what they have to say about their good fortune:

  • Chris Carpenter
    , a systems engineer for an ISP company from Wake Forest, North Carolina who enjoys bird watching and star gazing.

    "Thank you again and keep up the excellent work!"

  • Mark Gerwlivch
    , a retired high school science teacher and star-gazer from Ontario, Canada.

    "When teaching the astronomy unit of a science course, I wanted to get across the beauty of the universe. The advent of colour photography from an extra-terrestrial perspective (e.g., Apollo, Voyager, Pioneer, and Hubble) helped in getting this across. (I retired before the Cassini images were available). The beauty of "In Saturn's Shadow" is that it is not only a unique view of Saturn but also a unique perspective of Earth within the solar system."

  • John Keller
    , a mechanical engineer from Houston, Texas who enjoys hiking and astronomy.

    "Winning this poster is a great way to start the new year."

Before the voting could begin, the field of image/movie contestants was narrowed down to about a couple dozen in each category of color, black & white, and movies. To assist in this task, we enlisted the help of the members of the CICLOPS Alliance, dozens of whom responded to the call by poring over the huge body of Cassini releases and contributing their favorites.

Here's what the five contributing Alliance members who were also chosen to win posters have to say about their participation:

  • Carl Krauss
    , an electrical/mechanical designer and a former rock band sound engineer from Anaheim, CA.

    "I'm thrilled about being a part of the CICLOPS Alliance and being one of the winners of this contest. I would like to congratulate the other winners as well. But I'd have to say, if it wasn't for your team Carolyn, your web site, and your interest in the Cassini project, none of this would be made pubic like it is to us, 'the everyday people.' My hat is off you and your team... Congratulations, goes to you guys!!"

  • Christine Millsaps
    , a logistics analyst and amateur astronomer from Lusby, Maryland.

    "I am more than happy to learn that I am one of the winners of the Cassini Favorite Image Poster. Believe me, I know it was difficult to choose between some of the images, but the winning image truly is outstanding! The Cassini mission is extremely important. As these amazing images are acquired and studied, we learn so much about the ringed world. I would venture to say we learn much about the solar system as well. The work done at CICLOPS is just as important in bringing those images to the public. Thank you and keep up the great work!"

  • Michael Rutkowski
    , an environmentally minded political campaigner and a graduate student at Arizona State University working on a PhD in Astrophysics, from Tempe, Arizona.

    "For better or worse, I come from a generation that has had its space science defined by fits [an astronomical image file type] and jpegs. Whereas Apollo and Viking excited the previous generations, my generation's 'oohs and ahhs' have been prompted by the phenomenal returns from NASA's Great Observatories and its recent flagship missions. Thus, it seems fair to say that each Cassini image returned is like a moon landing for my generation, exciting the imagination and inspiring even more questions about 'what's out there' in me and my peers. To have won this contest, and be involved in this small part in the mission, is then, I'd guess, like having my own little moon rock."

  • Louise Sharples
    , a 23-yr-old armchair explorer/astronomer and self-described "big fan of NASA and the US" from Wigan, England.

    "I check the Cassini website on a daily basis and have viewed/read/studied every single image and press release from the mission. As I am strictly an armchair explorer/astronomer (no telescope), I feel my life would not be complete without viewing at least one new image from Cassini each day. With that kind of routine, it is hard not to take it for granted, but every so often I think, 'We have a bus-sized robotic emissary orbiting a planet 1.5 billion km away, unraveling its mysteries one discovery at a time. I wish everyone on Earth could appreciate the awe and wonder of Cassini's accomplishments.' My intention is to frame the poster and place it in the most prominent position in the living room so that all visitors cannot fail to notice it."

  • Helen Sotiriadis
    , a North-American-raised Greek architect presently living in Beijing, China and serving as a Senior CAD Operator for Beijing Olympic Broadcasting, the Host Broadcaster for the 2008 Olympics.

    "The Cassini imagery is part of humanity's long and noble voyage to understand its place in, and interconnectedness with, the universe. We're lucky to have been the first humans to see these dramatic pictures of other worlds and of our small and fragile home from afar. They not only further our scientific understanding but also deepen our sense of responsibility and fill our hearts and minds with beauty as the greatest of art can. The poster I will receive wont be a souvenir -- it will be an excuse to share the excitement of this exploratory mission with anyone who dares to ask me about it."

Alliance Member Comments
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Aug 10, 2008 at 10:55 AM):
Lillyreyes: It pleases me no end that our work moves you to want to tell the world, especially your students. Encourage them to visit our CICLOPS website and enjoy!
Lillyreyes (Aug 3, 2008 at 8:04 PM):
HI! I am just incredible amazed by all the pictures that I have been looking at, but A SIGHT TO BEHOLD! is just too much. I wanted to cry when I think how beautiful it is that we have the privilege to see the Universe. Thanks so much to all the Scientists and to all of you that work so hard so we can enjoy the Universe. I cannot wait to share all this pictures with my students.
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Jul 11, 2008 at 4:20 PM):
Indigo: The picture you refer to is not a real image. It is a synthetic image made from the data collected by the Radio Occultation (RSS) experiment. They collect the signal from the spacecraft as it passes behind the rings. This gives a single slice through the rings, which they then use to create a fake image. This is easy to do once you know/choose a geometry from which to look at the rings. And phony images don't count!
Indigo_Sunrise (Jun 12, 2008 at 9:07 AM):
I know this is late, but I was curious: why wasn't this image - -
included as one for the contest? At least, I cannot seem to locate it in any of the image diaries for Saturn, and it does have Cassini credited for the image, and wondered why it was not a 'contender'..? (Old subject for an inquiry, I know.)

*disclaimer - it's my desktop, and an absolute sharp, stunning one it makes! :)

And on that note, let me just say the latest images are facinating, as well. I do look forward to visiting the site and seeing what's next from Cassini!
Aidan (Jun 8, 2008 at 1:51 AM):
Er - make that Astronomical. I have had a couple of beers, and this is a highly embarrassing error.
Aidan (Jun 8, 2008 at 1:50 AM):
I am still mesmerised by the work that you do here. Ever since I saw that BBC series all those years ago, and now, when I have suddenly been bitten by the astrological sciences bug again, I come back to this website and by god you've had some amazing successes over the past several years.

Carolyn and team, salut!

Cheers - Aidan, musician, Blue Mountains Australia
Francisco (Jan 17, 2008 at 7:20 AM):
For me,they all earned a 100%
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Jan 10, 2008 at 2:23 PM):
Nvoelz: We scientists never knew there was a blue part of Saturn, either! It took us by surpise too. And it's hard to argue with your choices. They too are true gems. Really....can you think of a more beautiful place than Saturn?
nvoelz (Jan 9, 2008 at 6:42 PM):
Hello, these are some of my unsung picks. Ones that weren't posted above, just posting for enlightenment or discussion.

my color

3rd choice: Saturn's Blue Cranium / PIA 06177 Feb 8, 2005 (At first this picture looks out of focus, because the rings are not sharp, but the clouds bellow are in focus, When i first saw this image, i never knew there was a blue part to saturn. I just think this image is so interesting and beautiful)

my b&w

3rd choice: Daphnis At Work / Sep 12, 2006 (look at how that moon/object is disorting the material in the rings, wow.)

(4rth choice: Sensational Sights Raw Preview #2 / Mar 22, 2006) (rings look like a knife cutting into the moon, and there's a hidden moon in there)

my movie

3rd choice: Titanís Shifting Hazes / PIA06223)) (I find this movie to be profound. I am pretty sure I see a bolt of lightning and other flashes (upper left), i see lots of flashes and specs watching the dark area of Titan too, there are lots of blips as well that are intriguing down in the lower right that is lit) 4/8/05
Nick Di Nitto F.B.H.I. (Jan 9, 2008 at 12:42 PM):
Out of this world to an old timer it's almost to magical to be real. WONDERFUL