CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS

In Celebration of Galileo

On April 4, 2009, telescopes around the world will be trained on Saturn during the 100 Hours of Astronomy, a global sky-observing fest in honor of the astronomer Galileo Galilei. To join the celebration, the Cassini Imaging Team has collected here some of its most memorable images and movies of Saturn and its rings and moons ... a collection Galileo would be proud of. It's all part of the International Year of Astronomy which marks 2009 as the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first astronomical use of the telescope.

The Saturnian system consists of the solar system's second largest gaseous planet surrounded by beautiful rings, dozens of moons, and one intrepid robotic explorer. Learn the answers to frequently asked questions about Saturn and Cassini here.

Feb 24, 2005

The Greatest Saturn Portrait...Yet

Oct 15, 2007

The View from Iapetus

Dec 30, 2008

Saturn ... Four Years On

Oct 15, 2007

On the Final Frontier

Oct 11, 2006

In Saturn's Shadow - the Pale Blue Dot

Nov 29, 2004

Nature's Canvas

Apr 27, 2006

Saturn's Subtle Spectrum

Oct 15, 2007

Shadowing Saturn

Mar 1, 2007

Symmetry in Shadow

Feb 24, 2005

The Dragon Storm

Apr 29, 2008

Saturn's Long-lived Storm

Oct 13, 2008

The Yet Yawning Gulf

Nov 30, 2004

Gazing Down

Oct 15, 2007

Rainbow on the Rings

Aug 2, 2005

Atmospheric Illusion

Oct 16, 2006

Light from a Flickering Star

Dec 30, 2008

'Tis the Season for Spokes

Mar 1, 2007

The Great Crossing

Jul 22, 2004

Ringscape In Color

Mar 23, 2009

Moon Shadow in Motion

Sep 12, 2008

Disturbing Moons

Jul 7, 2008

Rough Around the Edges

Jul 9, 2008

Perturbed Edge

Jan 1, 2008

Saturn's Outer C Ring

Jul 1, 2004

Saturn Rings Processed #3

Jul 1, 2004

Saturn Rings Processed #7

Apr 23, 2008

Unrolling the F-ring

Jan 2, 2008

A Wisp of Smoke

Nov 10, 2005

Satellite Trio

Jan 28, 2008

Field of Moons

Dec 15, 2008

A Tectonic Feast

Mar 9, 2006

Enceladus the Storyteller

Nov 28, 2005

Fountains of Enceladus

Sep 19, 2006

Ghostly Fingers of Enceladus

Dec 15, 2008

Tiger Stripes...Magnified!

Nov 1, 2008

Enceladus Rev 91 Flyby - Skeet Shoot #1

Nov 1, 2008

Enceladus Rev 91 Flyby - Skeet Shoot #8

Oct 15, 2007

Flight over Iapetus

Oct 8, 2007

The Other Side of Iapetus

Sep 29, 2005

Odd World

Jun 23, 2004

Phoebe Hi-Res Mosaic

Feb 2, 2006

The Great Basin

Dec 6, 2005

Craters, Craters Everywhere

Dec 30, 2008

Darkness Falls on Rhea

Jun 9, 2006

A Sight to Behold

Oct 15, 2007

Titan Beyond the Rings

Aug 3, 2006

Candle in the Dark

Apr 5, 2005

New Titan Territory

Dec 16, 2004

Titan's Many Layers

Mar 15, 2007

Exploring the Wetlands of Titan

Alliance Member Comments
Jay55 (Apr 12, 2009 at 8:30 PM):
The most amazing collection of space photos I have ever seen. Beautiful and breathtaking. I have been following Cassini closely for almost two years now and I have run out of adjectives to describe the beauty of Saturn and its moons. The excitement in knowing that you are discovering something new almost everyday must be a wonderful feeling to go to work with. Congratulations to Carolyn and her team. You have worked very hard to give us images that will be remembered for years to come and be preserved forever as a part of human history. You truly are a remarkable bunch of human beings!
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Apr 6, 2009 at 12:24 PM):
Everyone: Many thanks for your kind words of appreciation for what we do here at CICLOPS and across the Imaging Team. Needless to say, it is our great pleasure to serve the world this feast of wondrous sights and discoveries, and I am very pleased that so many of you have made a point of joining us on this great adventure. You are right: Galileo would be amazed!
NeKto (Apr 4, 2009 at 12:30 PM):
Add up the contributions from scientists and engineers like Galileo, Newton, Johanas Kepler, E. Howard Armstrong, Robert Goddard, and too many more to list, and you get Carolyn Porco and the Cassini imaging team "standing on the shoulders of Giants" giving us one of the best vistas our species has ever seen.
and at least one more pair of shoulders for the next generation to stand on.
spacecowboy1964 (Apr 3, 2009 at 12:44 PM):
This is certainly the "Best of Cassini"! This collection is a cornerstone for this International Year of Astronomy. And my telescope will certainly be trained on Saturn during the 100 Hours of Astronomy. I've been following Cassini since it was first launched and haven't once been disappointed by its images. In fact, its launch provided inspiration for one of my digital paintings and, by sheer coincidence, it resembles some of the images I saw feom Huygens! I usually don't leave many comments but seeing these images collected together has forced me to leave one here. My compliments to Ms. Porco and the entire CICLOPS team on their astounding work. Please accept my best wishes for continued success.
libbydaddy (Apr 3, 2009 at 9:03 AM):
What would be going on in the mind of Galileo while watching "Flight over Iapetus"? The exquisite detail in even the earliest moon shots on this mission? The haunting beauty and ephemeral quality of the rings? Landing on Titan and viewing liquid lakes one could almost float away on?
Or a thousand other images, movies, and mosaics we, if we could place ourselves back even a few years, let alone 400, would find, I think, freshly astounding. Eye's opened wide wonderful. Heart stoppingly detailed. What would Galileo see, feel and wonder?
Remembering back to the first unbelievably sharp images of an irregular moon I immediately hung up copies of on my wall, I breathlessly waited to use up more ink on whatever wonders came to my computer. Hugely dense images I wasn't even capable of downloading not 5 yrs before were being displayed on a large flat screen that allowed these wonders from another system to be viewed in detail unprecedented. Overwhelmed by its amazing beauty, this first moon image is what sticks in my head to this day, not the haunting, ephemeral rings or the subtle and not so subtle Saturn planetary images or the whole unbelievable mission to Titan but that one moon. Not that everything else moved me, everything has, but that one moon sticks with me.
I wonder what image in this collection so expertly presented Galileo would have cherished more than any other?
Jesus said that he couldn't even describe, for our lack of understanding, the wonders He and the Father had prepared for us. Yet in this sin flawed universe we can still see such things as are coming from this mission. From the smallest ice particle to the entire complicated, ever more intricate system of Saturn itself the wonders are endless; this being just one small part of an infinite universe. Incomprehensible.
I never stop wanting to see more. In the process, some wide-eyed wonder is lost, I suppose. This is natural and expected. Some part of me sees not with wide-eyed wonder but more critical, hopefully discerning wide open wonder. I get used to the intricate, detailed images I don't have the ability to fully understand. But I walk away for a bit then come back and am bombarded with wonder to open my eyes again; a small benefit of not being able to visit here as often as I'd like.

Ms. Porco and team, I've said it before and will again, thank you for your efforts. Galileo would be amazed at this missions success for a dozen life times, I'm sure. I know my feebler mind sure wishes for more time.
Indigo_Sunrise (Apr 3, 2009 at 7:23 AM):
"A very fine selection", indeed! And WOW! How far we've come in 400 yrs. Breathtaking, fantastic, amazing images - all!

Keep up the great work!
Red_dragon (Apr 3, 2009 at 3:55 AM):
A very fine selection. I'd have added, however, that magnificent mosaic of Jupiter you took during the Jupiter flyby; if Galileo would have been impressed by knowing what actually were those three circles he saw through his telescope, no less by the majesty of Jupiter