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) (Jul 11, 2008 at 11:26 AM):
Indigo: The image you refer to is not a real image. It is a simulated image made from the data returned by the radio occultation (RSS) experiment. They only gather information from a slice through the rings and then they turn that into a simulated image of the full rings. Phony images don't count!
Francisco (Jan 17, 2008 at 7:19 AM):
It was so hard to choose, it's a torture!!!!!!! I can't imagine how those posters look!
Red_dragon (Jan 14, 2008 at 7:05 AM):
Congratulations to all the winners. Fortunately for those of us that haven't won, we'll always have those superb images taken by Cassini.
independentscholar (Jan 10, 2008 at 10:08 PM):
This is one of the great photographs of the space age (or any age), on a par with EarthRise or one of Ansel Adams photographs. Congratulations to all those who chose it. (Just shared the image with one of NASA's traveling educators, who will in turn share it with teachers and students.)

Just beautiful, and a highlight of human achievement.
Maxximus (Jan 10, 2008 at 10:29 AM):
Excellent work and Congrats to all! (Ok, Ok, I'm JEALOUS!) -- Maxximus
Kevin S. Moore (Jan 9, 2008 at 11:55 PM):
Congrats to all the winners. This type of contest should also be offered
to schools.. such as k though 12. That might spark an even greater
interest in Cassini's Mission. It is " selected catatgory " I know, but,
I would be really interested in what a 6/12 year old would have to say about
Cassini's ..movies and Pics. Now.. what was it Yoda said about the
mind of a child? humm.. I can't remember.. It will come back to me later I am
shure. ..grin..!

Kevin, 2nd shift. Go Cassini!
carolyn (CICLOPS) (Jan 9, 2008 at 1:59 PM):
Sustayne: Great ideas! We'll take them under consideration. - Carolyn
sustayne (Jan 9, 2008 at 1:26 PM):
Next Year, how about an all-expense-paid tour of the outer Solar System with a 3-day bonus getaway to the asteroid Eros!!! If not that, I would settle for Cassini Imaging Team/Hitch-hiker's Towel with the words "Don't Panic" written in large, friendly letters.
Well done, everyone!