CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

November 13, 2003

Dear Visitor,

Welcome to the website of the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations (CICLOPS), the hub of the Cassini Imaging Science Team.

In the year since our last communique, the Imaging Team has continued its examination of images from the Jupiter flyby of three years ago. A report on our scientific results was published in the journal SCIENCE last March , and several new publications are currently in press. Today, we are delighted to release the most detailed global color portrait of Jupiter ever assembled. Produced from high resolution images taken a little more than a day before Cassini's closest approach to Jupiter, it reveals in one spectacular view all the intricate and fascinating complexity that we have come to associate with the giant planet's turbulent atmosphere -- from its stormy, wind-sheared belts and zones to the mottled chaos of its polar regions. Feast your eyes for you won't see one like this again for a while.

Meanwhile, Cassini is swiftly approaching Saturn and nearing the end of its long journey. Eight months from now, the spacecraft will be in orbit around the planet. Cassini scientists have been busy preparing for that long-awaited event and the multi-year tour of the Saturn system that will follow. CICLOPS has moved to a new and larger location within the Space Science Institute in Boulder, CO. From here, the Imaging Team will conduct operations, prepare images for release to the public, and post them to this website throughout the mission. Routine approach observations of the planet begin in February of next year.....just around the corner.

You may notice as you wander this website that we have made a few improvements since your last visit, and in the coming months you can expect even more. One added feature will be a page where space artists will post their artwork, with commentary. This will give us the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate our Cassini findings all the more by comparing the pre-Cassini view of the bodies and phenomena in the Saturn system with the real thing. How well did we predict what small satellites embedded in the rings would look like? What did we miss in guessing the kinds of geologic terrains we would find covering the surface of Titan? We will soon see.

And also coming soon...our latest view of Saturn, which is growing bigger and closer all the time.

Stay tuned!

Carolyn Porco
Cassini Imaging Team Leader
CICLOPS/Space Science Institute
Boulder, CO