CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Cassini Favorite Image Contest
And the votes are in!

In this CICLOPS contest to see which of our images taken over the last 4 years are the most popular, members of the CICLOPS Alliance first narrowed down the selection, from a total of about 1500 releases since February 2004 to a handful of the most spectacular. From the final candidate lists of 30 color images, 27 b&w images, and 20 movies, thousands of CICLOPS visitors between December 3 and December 30, 2007 chose their favorites. Many of these individuals wrote to us to say how difficult a choice it was: So many of our images and movies are such jewels that to choose one over the others was painful. In fact, a few told us the choice was so torturous they refused to vote!

And now, here they are... your favorite Cassini images and movies of the entire mission so far. Enjoy them for what they are: The scenic visions that above all others exemplify what is glorious and otherworldly about the iconic ringed planet that we on Earth are fortunate to call our neighbor.

In Saturn's Shadow - the Pale Blue Dot
The clear outstanding winner of the Favorite Cassini Image contest in the Color category did not surprise any of us here. It is of course our one-of-a-kind image of a total eclipse of the Sun seen from the opposite side of Saturn ... an astonishing and gorgeous view that not only shows Saturn's ring system as it has never been seen before, but also captures the Earth, across a billion miles of interplanetary space, embraced as it were by Saturn's rings. This is an image that literally draws gasps from any audience to which it is shown, and is deserving of every accolade bestowed on it. It has even been described by some as "the most stunning photograph ever taken". There is something deeply moving about seeing our own little blue-ocean planet in the skies of other worlds, and most of you were so moved to choose this as the winning color image of the whole mission thus far. We at CICLOPS couldn't agree more!

In the Black & White category, to within the margin of error, two images tied for first place.
Black & White (tie)
Depth Sounding
One is a brooding image captured of the high northern latitudes on the planet and the sweep of its rings below, in a light that penetrates the atmosphere more deeply than is normally visible to the human eye.
And the other is an abstract, Kandinsky-esque view of the brightened outline of Titan seen just beyond the limb of Saturn, both split by the thin, nearly edge-on rings.
Black & White (tie)
A Sight to Behold

It's clear that our voters had a hard time choosing among all the fantastic monochrome scenes caught by our cameras, some rivaling the best graphic designs seen anywhere, because each of these winning images garnered only about 10% of the votes.

And in the Favorite Cassini Movie category, again two tied for first place.
Movie (tie)
The Great Crossing
One is a riveting, quintessentially Saturn sequence taken as Cassini plunged through the equatorplane and caught the sunlit rings seemingly collapsing down to a sliver and then unfolding again in the negative, all the while circuited by flock of racing moons.
And the other is the 'Flight over Iapetus' made from images collected during last September's close Iapetus flyby. Our most technically challenging movie to date, this is a gripping, strap-yourself-in blast over the moon's high mountain peaks, and we were not surprised to see it rise to the top of this category.
Movie (tie)
Flight over Iapetus

(Show all candidates and final voting statistics)

We at CICLOPS want to extend our great thanks to the thousands of you who voted. The contest has been a great success.

Now meet the lucky individuals who were randomly chosen to receive a poster of the winning color image.

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: Titan's 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