CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

Visions Of Saturn On Display At The American Museum Of Natural History

Preston Dyches (720) 974-5859
CICLOPS/Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

CICLOPS News Feature: April 23, 2008


Visitors to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City will soon behold the wonders of Saturn in a new exhibition of images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Entitled "Saturn: Images from the Cassini-Huygens Mission," the exhibit features more than 50 outstanding vistas witnessed by Cassini in its first four years touring Saturn, its breathtaking rings and its entourage of icy moons. There are also images taken by the Huygens probe of the surface of Titan during its historic landfall on that moon on January 14, 2005.

The exhibition opens Saturday, April 26, 2008 and will be on display in the IMAX corridor on the first floor of the Museum through March 29, 2009.

Most of the images and large mosaics on display were captured by the imaging science (ISS) experiment aboard Cassini and processed at the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations (CICLOPS) at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. A select few ISS images were processed at other imaging team member institutions such as the University of Arizona; Freie University in Germany; Goddard Institute for Space Studies; California Institute of Technology; Queen Mary, University of London and Cornell University.

Carolyn Porco, leader of the imaging team, director of CICLOPS and a native New Yorker, had this to say about the exhibit:

"Teddy Roosevelt, 26th American president, avid explorer, lover of science and a great friend of the American Museum of Natural History, once said: 'There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.' Those who walk among the stirring planetary vistas on display at Roosevelt's beloved Museum, returned by the most ambitious
exploratory expedition ever undertaken of an alien and distant wilderness, will come to understand just precisely what he meant."

Porco, renowned for her inspiring presentations, is slated to speak about the exhibit images and the scientific and historic significance of Cassini's exploration of Saturn
the Hayden Planetarium at 7:30 pm on September 15, 2008. Anyone wishing to make a reservation can do so after June 1, 2008 by calling 212-769-5200 or visiting

The Cassini mission, recently awarded a two-year extension, will continue to return scientific insights and images like those in the exhibit through at least June 2010.

The exhibition curator is Denton Ebel, associate curator within the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences of the American Museum of Natural History. The exhibition is co-curated by Mordecai-Mark Mac Low, curator within the Museum's Department of Astrophysics; and guest co-curated by Joseph Burns, professor of Astronomy at Cornell University.

Most of the exhibit images are available online at

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the U.S., England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center (CICLOPS) and team leader (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.


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