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Images voyager took of saturn.

The Voyager 1 and 2 Saturn encounters occurred nine months apart, in November 1980 and August 1981. Voyager 1 is leaving the solar system. Voyager 2 completed its encounter with Uranus in January 1986 and with Neptune in August 1989, and is now also en route out of the solar system.

For a summary of scientific findings by the two Voyagers at Saturn, click here .

Saturn by Voyager 2.

Larger version of saturn., false-color view of saturn., voyager image of saturn moon enceladus., montage of saturnian system..

Montage of Saturnian system.

Saturn and three moons. Tethys. Dion and Rhea. Aug. 4, 1982. 13 million miles.

Saturn and three moons. Tethys. Dion and Rhea. Aug. 4, 1982. 13 million miles.

Saturn. Moons Tethys. Dione. Shadows, rings and moons on Saturn. Photo Nov. 3. 1980. Range 13 million km.

Saturn. Moons Tethys. Dione. Shadows, rings and moons on Saturn. Photo Nov. 3. 1980. Range 13 million km.

Saturn’s Northern Hemisphere. Aug. 19, 1981. Range 4.4 million miles.

Saturn’s Northern Hemisphere. Aug. 19, 1981. Range 4.4 million miles.

Enhanced image. Saturn’s clouds. Photo Nov. 5, 1980. Range 8 million km.

Enhanced image. Saturn’s clouds. Photo Nov. 5, 1980. Range 8 million km.

Saturn C-ring and B-ring with many ringlets. False-color image. Aug. 23, 1981.

Saturn C-ring and B-ring with many ringlets. False-color image. Aug. 23, 1981.

Saturn rings. Color variations indicate different chemical composition.

Saturn rings. Color variations indicate different chemical composition.

Saturn rings with "spoke" features in B-ring. Aug. 22, 1981. 2.5 million miles.

Saturn rings with "spoke" features in B-ring. Aug. 22, 1981. 2.5 million miles.

Wide-angle view of rings just before Voyager crossed ring plane. Shows entire ring system highly foreshortened.

Wide-angle view of rings just before Voyager crossed ring plane. Shows entire ring system highly foreshortened.

F-ring. Two braided separate orbit rings. Photo Nov. 12, 1980. Range 750,000 km.

F-ring. Two braided separate orbit rings. Photo Nov. 12, 1980. Range 750,000 km.

Moon Titan and thick haze. Photo Nov. 12, 1980. Range 435,000 km.

Moon Titan and thick haze. Photo Nov. 12, 1980. Range 435,000 km.

Saturn’s Moon Tethys. Note huge canyon system.

Saturn’s Moon Tethys. Note huge canyon system.

Moon Dione. Many impact craters. Photo Nov. 12, 1980.

Moon Dione. Many impact craters. Photo Nov. 12, 1980.

Saturn’s Moon Enceladus. 310 miles in diameter. Aug. 25, 1982. 74,000 miles.

Saturn’s Moon Enceladus. 310 miles in diameter. Aug. 25, 1982. 74,000 miles.

In 1981, Voyager 2's visit to Saturn completely changed the hunt for aliens

The hunt for habitable worlds owes a debt to this moment in planetary science history.

Saturn from 27 million miles, seen from Voyager 2 spacecraft. Artist NASA. (Photo by Heritage Space/...

Forty years ago, NASA scientist Linda Spilker started sleeping at the office. It was her first job out of college, but she wasn’t camping out because she was over-worked and chained to her desk. Instead, she was waiting for an exquisite moment in human history: The first time Voyager 2 would fly by Saturn and its moons, and, critically, the images it would return to Earth of the distinctive ringed planet.

“I’d bring my sleeping bag into my office, and I’d have like a timeline of when the pictures would come back to the Earth,” she recalls for Inverse . “A lot of people did this, so you could sometimes go into somebody’s office, and you might see a pair of feet sticking out from under the desk.”

Voyager 2’s flyby wasn’t the first time a spacecraft gave scientists a close-up view of the gas giant and its moons — that privilege went to its sister spacecraft Voyager 1, which entered the Saturn system on November 12, 1980.

But the flyby, which took place on August 26, 1981, provided scientists here on Earth with important observations that, combined with those of Voyager 1, have informed every NASA mission to the Saturn system since.

“We could go in and tweak the designs and the observations for Voyager 2.”

NASA’s Cassini, Huygens, and, importantly, the upcoming Dragonfly mission to Saturn’s moon Titan to search for signs of life all owe a debt to this moment in history.

What Voyager 2 discovered around Saturn — When Spilker graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics and went to work for NASA in 1977, they gave her a choice of missions., including a brand new mission set to launch that year — Voyager.

“When they told me that Voyager was headed to Jupiter and Saturn, and possibly onto Uranus, and Neptune, I said, ‘Sign me up,’” she says.

Spilker watched Voyager 2 launch in August of 1977 and then settled into her role on the science team for both space probes until they reached the Saturn system. Voyager 1 made it on November 12, 1980, and just a little shy of one year later, Voyager 2 entered the Saturn system on August 26, 1981.

“The first flyby was unique in that we found so many interesting new things. We got to see the detailed structure, for instance, in Saturn’s rings,” Spilker says. With these data in hand, the scientists on the ground could plan for the next flyby — and what they wanted to find.

“We could go in and tweak the designs and the observations for Voyager 2,” Spilker says.

Voyager 2 took a closer look at Saturn’s rings, particularly the narrow, outermost “F” ring.

“We saw a lot of changes in that ring, in particular, these sorts of kinks and braids that we could see in that ring,” Spilker says.

what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

Saturn’s rings as imaged by Voyager 2.

Voyager 2 revealed that Saturn’s rings are anything but “bland sheets of material,” but rather intricate, detailed, and dynamic structures. Spilker would later use Voyager 2’s stellar and radio occultation data — measurements of how starlight and radio waves were influenced by the rings while passing through them — to complete her Ph.D. in geophysics and space physics.

“The way the waves damp out tell you something about the surface mass density and about the densities of particles,” she says.

“We saw evidence of tectonic fractures, softened craters.”

“I was always a big fan of the rings after having used so much ring data for my thesis.”

Identifying habitable worlds — Less visually beautiful, but perhaps more intellectually curious, were the observations collected by Voyager 2 of two of Saturn’s moons, Titan and Enceladus. These data would inform both later NASA missions and the scientific search for alien life.

Enceladus is now known to harbor a global liquid water ocean beneath its icy crust, making it a prime candidate target to search for extraterrestrial life. But before the Voyager craft made it to Saturn, scientists were not even sure the small, 500-kilometer diameter world was geologically active — a key ingredient for life.

“What was really astonishing was to see Enceladus and just how bright and pristine this world looked,” Spilker says.

“We saw evidence of tectonic fractures, softened craters,” she recalls.

what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

Saturn’s moon Enceladus as captured by Voyager 2.

NASA’s 2005 Cassini mission conducted multiple flybys of the little moon and took images of geysers erupting from Enceladus’s southern polar region. Cassini even flew through the geysers’ plumes, sampling what is believed to be water spewing up from the subsurface ocean.

Meanwhile, the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, remained obscured by haze during the Voyager missions. But the data Voyager 1 and 2 collected was then used to better equip the Cassini spacecraft and the Huygens lander , which separated from Cassini to land on Titan on January 14, 2005.

what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

Saturn’s largest moon Titan as imaged by Voyager 2.

Together, they revealed a world of hydrocarbon lakes and water ice. Titan, scientists confirmed, was another intriguing candidate for hosting extraterrestrial life.

“All the things we learned with Voyager informed us and helped us build the Huygens probe,” Spilker says. She would know, as she joined the Cassini team in 1988.

“Had we not had that information from Voyager, it might have been much harder to put together.”

How Voyager 2 still influences NASA missions to Saturn —  Voyager to Cassini and Huygens — each science mission informs the next, according to Planetary Scientist Elizabeth Turtle . Turtle is the primary investigator on the upcoming Dragonfly mission to Titan set to launch in the mid-2030s.

“Titan has been doing prebiotic chemistry experiments for us.”

“Each mission provides information that is the basis for future missions,” she says. “But each mission also raises questions, and those become the questions the next missions try to tackle.”

One of the big mysteries about Titan following the Voyager mission’s flyby was what lay on the moon’s surface. Cassini and Huygens answered that question, making observations that revealed a dense atmosphere rich in complex carbon molecules and a surface made of water ice. Turtle says these could include the ingredients necessary for the chemical reactions that could lead to the genesis of life.

dragonfly life titan

Dragonfly on Titan, as imagined by an artist.

Now it’s Dragonfly’s turn to answer the follow-up question as to whether or not those ingredients are indicative of signs of life on Titan.

An octocopter drone, Dragonfly will fly from place to place to sample the surface of Titan.

“Titan has been doing prebiotic chemistry experiments for us,” Turtle says. “What dragonfly is designed to do is to get there and pick up the results of those experiments and tell us whether there are biologically relevant compounds on the surface of Titan.”

How Voyager 2 keeps on keeping on — As for Voyager and Spilker, they have both left planetary science far behind. Earlier this year, Spilker rejoined the Voyager 2 mission as its deputy project scientist. Only now, instead of studying Saturn's rings, she’s studying the interstellar medium 150 astronomical units from the Sun: Voyager 2 officially left the Solar System on November 5, 2018.

“I think the goal is to keep taking as much science data for as long as we can,” Spilker says of the Voyager 2 spacecraft, which is now in its 44th year of operations.

“It’s gonna be a long time until we ever get another mission as far from the Sun as Voyager.”

Spilker recalls a statement made by Richard Laeser, then the Voyager project manager, after the Saturn flyby. “Voyager is in its post-retirement years,” Laeser said, and “is very healthy for its age.”

“I just had to chuckle,” Spilker says, “Because that was in 1985, and here we are in 2021, and the Voyagers — both of them are still going strong.”

  • Space Science

what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

Interstellar Mission

The Voyager 2 spacecraft, which has been in operation since 1977 and is the only spacecraft to have ever visited Uranus and Neptune, has made its way to interstellar space, where its twin spacecraft, Voyager 1, has resided since August 2012.

Voyager 2 Foreground

Mission Statistics

Launch Date

Aug. 20, 1977

About the mission

The Voyager 2 spacecraft, which has been in operation since 1977 and is the only spacecraft to have ever visited Uranus and Neptune, has made its way to interstellar space, where its twin spacecraft, Voyager 1, has resided since August 2012. During its travels through the outer solar system, Voyager 2 visited all four gas giant planets, and also discovered and photographed many of the planets' moons.

The spacecraft's flyby of Neptune in 1989 set it on a course below the elliptic plane that eventually took it to interstellar space on November 5, 2018. In 1998, engineers switched off the spacecraft's nonessential instruments to conserve power. Data from at least some of the six instruments still in operation should be received until at least 2025.

Instruments

  • Imaging system
  • Infrared interferometer spectrometer
  • Ultraviolet spectrometer
  • Triaxial fluxgate magnetometer
  • Plasma spectrometer
  • Low-energy charged particles detectors
  • Cosmic Ray System (CRS)
  • Photopolarimeter System (PPS)
  • Plasma Wave System (PWS)

Mission Highlights

Nov. 5, 2018

Interstellar target graphic

Interactive 3D model of Voyager 2.View the full interactive experience at Eyes on the Solar System .

Happy Anniversary, Voyager 2! NASA Probe Flew by Saturn 35 Years Ago

Voyager 2 View of Saturn

Thirty-five years ago today, a NASA spacecraft got an up-close look at beautiful, enigmatic Saturn.

On Aug. 25, 1981, the Voyager 2 probe zoomed within 26,000 miles (41,000 kilometers) of the ringed planet's cloud tops. The discoveries made by Voyager 2 — and by its twin, Voyager 1, which had flown past Saturn nine months earlier — reshaped scientists' understanding of the Saturn system and planted the seed for NASA's Cassini mission, which began orbiting the ringed planet in 2004, NASA officials said.

"Saturn, like all of the planets the Voyagers visited, was full of exciting discoveries and surprises," Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said in a statement. "By giving us unprecedented views of the Saturn system, Voyager gave us plenty of reasons to go back for a closer look." [ Photos from NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 Probes ]

This psychedelic false-color image of Saturn, taken by Voyager 2 on July 12, 1981, reveals structure in the planet's clouds.

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 launched a few weeks apart in 1977, tasked with performing a "grand tour" of the solar system's big planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The two spacecraft accomplished that goal, eyeing all four gaseous worlds up close, and also studying 48 of their moons. (Voyager 1 flew past Jupiter and Saturn, while Voyager 2 had close encounters with all four planets.)

The Voyagers weren't the first spacecraft to fly by Saturn; that distinction belongs to NASA's Pioneer 11 probe , which did so in 1979. But the Voyagers broke a lot of new ground; they discovered four new Saturn moons, for example, and revealed an incredible diversity of landscapes on satellites such as Dione, Tethys and Iapetus, NASA officials said.

During its flyby of Saturn on Aug. 25, 1981, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft saw hints that the moon Enceladus might be active.

"The stars of the Saturn system are the moons, which surprised all of us on both the Voyager and Cassini missions," Cassini project scientist Linda Spilker, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, said in  the same statement . (Spilker was also a member of the Voyager science team.)

The Voyagers also gathered evidence suggesting that the icy, 313-mile-wide (504 km) Saturn moon Enceladus is geologically active — a hypothesis that Cassini spectacularly confirmed in 2005 with photos of water-ice geysers blasting from Enceladus' south polar region.

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Further Cassini observations have revealed that Enceladus likely harbors an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy shell; astrobiologists regard the moon as one of the solar system's best bets to host alien life.

The Voyagers also discovered a huge and bizarre hexagonal vortex at Saturn's north pole, and the twin craft made the first up-close observations of the planet's famous rings. Furthermore, the Voyager mission determined that the atmosphere of Saturn's biggest moon, Titan , is composed mainly of nitrogen, but the spacecraft weren't able to peer through this thick haze.

Cassini, however, has been able to map Titan using radar, revealing vast seas of liquid hydrocarbons on the moon's surface. Cassini also carried a piggyback probe called Huygens, which landed and operated on the moon briefly in January 2005.

"The twin Voyagers rewrote the textbooks on Saturn, its rings and moons, and we couldn't wait to go back with Cassini," Spilker said. "New mysteries uncovered by Cassini will await the next missions to follow in the footsteps of Voyager."

Cassini is scheduled to end its life with an intentional death dive into Saturn's atmosphere in September 2017 — a move designed to ensure that the spacecraft doesn’t contaminate Enceladus or Titan with microbes from Earth.

Voyager 2 took this image of Saturn's huge moon Titan on Aug. 23, 1981.

The Voyagers, meanwhile, continue to explore the dark depths of space, far from the sun. Voyager 1 entered interstellar space in August 2012 and is currently about 12.6 billion miles (20.3 billion km) from Earth. (No other human-made object is farther from home.)

Voyager 2, which took a different route through space, is about 10.4 billion miles (16.7 billion km) from Earth. The probe should join Voyager 1 in interstellar space relatively soon, NASA officials have said.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter  @michaeldwall  and  Google+ . Follow us @Spacedotcom , Facebook  or Google+ . Originally published on  Space.com .

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: [email protected].

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with  Space.com  and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.

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what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

The remarkable engineering triumph of the Voyager program

what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

In 1977, two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, were launched on their mission from Cape Canaveral to explore Jupiter and Saturn. Not only did they accomplish those missions, but they also continued on to observe Uranus and Neptune, eventually reaching interstellar space, where they continue to operate and send back valuable information to scientists today. On this edition of "Weekend Insight," TPR's Jerry Clayton talks about this remarkable feat of engineering with Voyager project scientist Linda Spilker.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Clayton: Give us a quick overview of the Voyager project that started going on 47 years ago now.

Spilker: The two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977, and their original mission was to visit the four outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, which Voyager 2 did, visiting all four planets. And then after that, continue to study the heliosphere. That's the bubble created by our sun crossing the heliopause. Voyager 1 crossed in 2012. Voyager 2 crossed the heliopause in 2018.

Clayton: Now, Voyager 1 is now the farthest manmade object away from Earth. Is that correct?

Spilker: That's right. Jerry. Voyager 1 is now about 15 billion miles away from the sun, and it's traveling about a million miles per day. So, getting farther away every day and it won't be coming back. It's going to continue in that space between the stars.

Clayton: That distance is mind-boggling. And what's more mind-boggling is that you're able to communicate back and forth with the spacecraft. Now, I know there have been a few communications issues over the years, but back in November of 2023, tell me what happened with Voyager 1? Did you guys think it was over with?

Spilker: Well, Voyager 1 went from one day sending back good science and engineering data until the next day just sending back a single tone, essentially like a dial tone from a phone. And there was no longer any information. And so, we were really worried that we had no information coming from the spacecraft, except we knew it was still there. And so, then the task began to figure out what had happened to Voyager 1.

Clayton: And how did you fix that problem?

Spilker: We tried a series of steps and finally identified that a chip in the flight data subsystem memory had failed, and it was stuck at a bit. And so, it was no longer working the way that it should. So we figured out we needed to move all of the computer programing the subroutines to a good portion of the memory, and then link it all back together and get it to run. And that's exactly what we did.

Clayton: How simple are these systems on board the spacecraft computer-wise compared to technology today?

Spilker: Oh, the Voyager computers are much simpler than the technology we have today. In fact, the total memory of the Voyager computers is about equivalent to what you have on your key fob. So, your cell phone is much more capable than the Voyager computers.

Clayton: So what's next for Voyager 1 and Voyager 2?

Spilker: Well, both Voyagers are going to continue to explore interstellar space. We think that they'll last it, barring any other anomalies out until about the 2030s, at which point the power will be too low to maintain operation of the spacecraft. Each of them carries a golden record , with the sights and sounds of the Earth moving out toward stars in the future. And so they'll become our silent ambassadors, carrying our message of hope and goodwill to the rest of the universe.

Is there a topic or person you'd like to hear featured on this program? Email us at [email protected]

what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

May 30, 2024

Voyager 1’s Revival Offers Inspiration for Everyone on Earth

Instruments may fail, but humanity’s most distant sentinel will keep exploring, and inspiring us all

By Saswato R. Das

Illustration of Voyager spacecraft in front of a galaxy and a bright nearby star in deep space

Artist's rendering of a Voyager spacecraft in deep space.

Dotted Zebra/Alamy Stock Photo

Amid April’s litany of bad news—war in Gaza, protests on American campuses, an impasse in Ukraine—a little uplift came for science buffs.

NASA has reestablished touch with Voyager 1 , the most distant thing built by our species, now hurtling through interstellar space far beyond the orbit of Pluto. The extraordinarily durable spacecraft had stopped transmitting data in November, but NASA engineers managed a very clever work-around, and it is sending data again. Now more than 15 billion miles away, Voyager 1 is the farthest human object, and continues to speed away from us at approximately 38,000 miles per hour.

Like an old car that continues to run, or an uncle blessed with an uncommonly long life, the robotic spacecraft is a super ager that goes on and on—and, in doing so, has captivated space buffs everywhere.

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Launched on September 5, 1977, the one-ton Voyager 1 was meant to chart the outer solar system, in particular the gas giant planets Jupiter and Saturn, and Saturn’s moon, Titan. Its twin, Voyager 2 , launched the same year, followed a different trajectory with a slightly different mission to explore the outer planets before heading to the solar system’s edge.

Those were NASA’s glory days. A few years earlier, NASA had successfully landed men on the moon—and won the space race for the U.S. NASA’s engineers were the envy of the world.

To get to Jupiter and Saturn, both Voyagers had to traverse the asteroid belt, which is full of rocks and debris orbiting the sun. They had to survive cosmic rays, intense radiation from Jupiter and other perils of space. But the two spacecraft made it without a hitch.

President Jimmy Carter held office when Voyager 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral; Elvis Presley had died just three weeks before; gas was about 60 cents a gallon; and, like now, the Middle East was in crisis, with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat trying to find peace.

Voyager 1 sent back spectacular photos of Jupiter and its giant red spot. It showed how dynamic the Jovian atmosphere was, with clouds and storms. It also took pictures of Jupiter’s moon Io, with its volcanoes, and Saturn’s moon Titan , which astronomers think has an atmosphere similar to the primordial Earth’s. The spacecraft discovered a thin ring around Jupiter and two new Jovian moons, which were named Thebe and Metis. On reaching Saturn, it discovered five new moons as well as a new ring.

And then Voyager 1 continued on its journey and sent images back from the edge of the solar system. Many of us remember the Pale Blue Dot , a haunting picture of the Earth it took on Feb 14, 1990, when it was a distance of 3.7 billion miles from the sun. The astronomer Carl Sagan wrote:

“There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”

By then Voyager 1 had long outlived its planetary mission but kept faithfully calling home as it traveled beyond the solar system into the realm of the stars. By 2012 Voyager 1 had reached the heliosphere , the farthest edge of the solar system. There, it penetrated the heliopause, where the solar wind ends, stopped by particles coming from the interstellar medium, the vast space between the stars. (Astronomers know that the space between the stars is not totally empty but permeated by a rarefied gas .)

From Voyager 1, scientists learned that the heliopause is quite dynamic and first measured the magnetic field of the Milky Way beyond the solar system. And its instruments kept sending data as it traveled through the interstellar medium.

On hearing that Voyager 1 had gone dark, I had checked in with Louis Lanzerotti , a former Bell Labs planetary scientist who did the calibrations for the Voyager 1 spacecraft and was a principal investigator on many experiments. He told me that a NASA manager in the 1970s had doubted that the spacecraft’s mechanical scan platform, which pointed instruments at targets, and very thin solid state detectors, which took those edge of the solar system readings, on the spacecraft would survive. They not only survived but worked flawlessly for all this time, Lanzerotti said, providing excellent data for decades. He was overjoyed on hearing the news that Voyager 1 was still alive.

Voyager 1 instruments have power until 2025 . After that, they will shut off, one by one. But there is nothing to stop the spacecraft as it speeds away from us in the vast emptiness of space.

Thousands of years from now, maybe when the human race has left this planet, Voyager 1, the tiny little spacecraft that could, will still continue its inexorable journey to the stars.

This is an opinion and analysis article, and the views expressed by the author or authors are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

A ‘Parade of Planets’ Is Coming. Here’s How to Watch This Sky Show

what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

O ne of the solar system’s most fortuitous conga lines occurred in the late 1970s, when the four gas giants—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune—formed a neat cosmic column, allowing the Voyager spacecraft to make flybys of all of them. The twin ships performed dazzling science, returning some of the best pictures ever taken of the worlds and discovering moons and rings never before seen.

Things won’t be quite as history-making on June 3, 2024, but they will be eye-popping all the same. It is on that date that stargazers in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world will have their best chance of seeing what is being colloquially called a parade of planets , when six of our solar system’s eight planets (nine if you count little disenfranchised Pluto) will be visible at once in the sky. The half dozen worlds on display will be Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, but they won’t all be easy to spot—and you’ll have to get up early to see them at all. Here’s what to know to take in this latest sky show.

What is a parade of planets?

For all of the stir the spectacle is causing, the parade is mostly an optical illusion, with the planets not truly lining up the way they did in the Voyager era. Rather, they are scattered all across the sky at different depths, positions, and distances, and just happen to be visible at once in a 73° area. The phenomenon is a little like randomly placing six different people at six different spots in a field and positioning yourself so that you can gather them all in your camera lens at once.

Read More : How to Prepare for the Next Solar Storm

While true alignments are rare—the one that the Voyager probes took advantage of was the only one of its kind within a 176-year period—planetary parades are relatively common . Another six-planet parade will be visible on August 28, 2024, and four others, some consisting of just three or four planets, will occur between then and August 2025. 

Where will the planets be?

It will take some doing to find just where each planet is located in the sky. According to the stargazers’ site Stellarium , Jupiter and Mercury, which in fact are 448 million miles apart , will appear to be huddled up close to each other, near the horizon. Moving up to the Northeast will be Uranus, followed by Mars, Neptune, and finally Saturn. Adding its own little fillip, a crescent moon will also be visible in the midst of the parade.

Not all of the planets will be equally visible. Bright-red Mars and giant Saturn will be the easiest to see with the naked eye. Mercury and Jupiter won’t be quite as conspicuous. Uranus and Neptune, meanwhile—the most remote of the group—will require high-power binoculars or a telescope.

When can I spot the planets?

The skywatching window is narrow for the planet parade. The best viewing occurs about 20 minutes before sunrise, while looking to the eastern horizon. In New York on June 3, that means 5:06 a.m. At the lower latitude of Cape Canaveral, that means 6:05 a.m. In Los Angeles, it’s 5:02 a.m.

Read More : Newly Discovered Planet May Be Able to Support Human Life

Elsewhere in the world , the parade will be visible before June 3. In São Paolo, Brazil, for example, it will commence on May 27 and cover a 43° expanse of sky; in Mexico it begins on May 29 across a 65° sector; in Athens the curtain goes up on June 2, in a 72° patch. Whenever the parade begins, it should last no more than a week—visible in the same pre-dawn window—depending on your location.

As with all cosmic phenomena, the farther you are from the light pollution of the city, the better your viewing will be. Truly dark skies are becoming a rarer and rarer thing in the modern world, but they’re worth seeking out. The heavens have a lot to show us—but only if we meet them on their terms.

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Write to Jeffrey Kluger at [email protected]

Things are finally looking up for the Voyager 1 interstellar spacecraft

Two of the four science instruments aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft are now returning usable data after months of transmitting only gibberish, NASA scientists have announced.

Voyager 1

I was once sitting with my father while Googling how far away various things in the solar system are from Earth. He was looking for exact numbers, and very obviously grew more invested with each new figure I shouted out. I was thrilled. The moon? On average, 238,855 miles (384,400 kilometers) away. The James Webb Space Telescope ? Bump that up to about a million miles (1,609,344 km) away. The sun? 93 million miles (149,668,992 km) away.  Neptune ? 2.8  billion  miles (4.5 billion km) away. "Well, wait until you hear about Voyager 1," I eventually said, assuming he was aware of what was coming. He was not.

"NASA's  Voyager 1  interstellar spacecraft actually isn't even in the solar system anymore," I announced. "Nope, it's more than 15 billion miles (24 billion km)  away from us  — and it's getting even farther as we speak." I can't quite remember his response, but I do indeed recall an expression of sheer disbelief. There were immediate inquiries about how that's even physically possible. There were bewildered laughs, different ways of saying "wow," and mostly, there was a contagious sense of awe. And just like that, a new Voyager 1 fan was born.

It is easy to see why Voyager 1 is among the most beloved robotic space explorers we have — and it is thus easy to understand why so many people felt a pang to their hearts several months ago, when Voyager 1 stopped talking to us.

Related:  After months of sending gibberish to NASA, Voyager 1 is finally making sense again

For reasons unknown at the time, this spacecraft began sending back gibberish in place of the neatly organized and data-rich 0's and 1's it had been providing since its  launch in 1977 . It was this classic computer language which allowed Voyager 1 to converse with its creators while earning the title of "farthest human made object." It's how the spacecraft relayed vital insight that led to the discovery of new Jovian moons and, thanks to this sort of binary podcast, scientists incredibly identified a new ring of Saturn and created the solar system's first and only "family portrait." This code, in essence, is crucial to Voyager 1's very being.

Plus, to make matters worse, the issue behind the glitch turned out to be associated with the craft's Flight Data System, which is literally the system that transmits information about Voyager 1's health so scientists can correct any issues that arise. Issues like this one. Furthermore, because of the spacecraft's immense distance from its operators on Earth, it takes about 22.5 hours for a transmission to reach the spacecraft, and then 22.5 hours to receive a transmission back. Alas, things weren't looking good for a while — for about five months, to be precise.

But then, on April 20, Voyager 1  finally phoned home  with legible 0's and legible 1's.

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Earth as a

"The team had gathered early on a weekend morning to see whether telemetry would return," Bob Rasmussen, a member of the Voyager flight team, told Space.com. "It was nice to have everyone assembled in one place like this to share in the moment of learning that our efforts had been successful. Our cheer was both for the intrepid spacecraft and for the comradery that enabled its recovery."

And  then,  on May 22 , Voyager scientists released the welcome announcement that the spacecraft has successfully resumed returning science data from two of its four instruments, the plasma wave subsystem and magnetometer instrument. They're now working on getting the other two, the cosmic ray subsystem and low energy charged particle instrument, back online as well. Though there technically are six other instruments onboard Voyager, those had been out of commission for some time.

The comeback

Rasmussen was actually a member of the Voyager team in the 1970s, having worked on the project as a computer engineer before leaving for other missions including  Cassini , which launched the spacecraft that taught us almost everything we currently know about Saturn. In 2022, however, he returned to Voyager because of a separate dilemma with the mission — and has remained on the team ever since.

"There are many of the original people who were there when Voyager launched, or even before, who were part of both the flight team and the science team," Linda Spilker, a planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory , who also worked on the Voyager mission, told Space.com in the This Week from Space podcast on the TWiT network. "It's a real tribute to Voyager — the longevity not only of the spacecraft, but of the people on the team."

To get Voyager 1 back online, in rather cinematic fashion, the team devised a complex workaround that prompted the FDS to send a copy of its memory back to Earth. Within that memory readout, operators managed to discover the crux of the problem — a corrupted code spanning a single chip — which was then remedied through another (honestly,  super interesting ) process to modify the code. On the day Voyager 1 finally spoke again, "you could have heard a pin drop in the room," Spilker said. "It was very silent. Everybody's looking at the screen, waiting and watching." 

The rocket that launched Voyager 1 in 1977.

Of course, Spilker also brought in some peanuts for the team to munch on — but not just any peanuts. Lucky peanuts. 

It's a longstanding tradition at JPL to have a peanut feast before major mission events like launches, milestones and, well, the possible resurrection of Voyager 1. It  began  in the 1960s, when the agency was trying to launch the Ranger 7 mission that was meant to take pictures of and collect data about the moon's surface. Rangers 1 through 6 had all failed, so Ranger 7 was a big deal. As such, the mission's trajectory engineer, Dick Wallace, brought lots of peanuts for the team to nibble on and relax. Sure enough, Ranger 7 was a success and, as Wallace once said, "the rest is history." 

Voyager 1 needed some of those positive snacky vibes. 

"It'd been five months since we'd had any information," Spilker explained. So, in this room of silence besides peanut-eating-noises, Voyager 1 operators sat at their respective system screens, waiting. 

"All of a sudden it started to populate — the data," Spilker said. That's when the programmers who had been staring at those screens in anticipation leapt out of their seats and began to cheer: "They were the happiest people in the room, I think, and there was just a sense of joy that we had Voyager 1 back."

flight team of voyager 1

Eventually, Rasmussen says the team was able to conclude that the failure probably occurred due to a combination of aging and radiation damage by which energetic particles in space bombarded the craft. This is also why he believes it wouldn't be terribly surprising to see a similar failure occur in the future, seeing as Voyager 1 is still roaming beyond the distant boundaries of our stellar neighborhood just like its spacecraft twin,  Voyager 2 .

To be sure, the spacecraft isn't fully fixed yet — but it's lovely to know things are finally looking up, especially with the recent news that some of its science instruments are back on track. And, at the very least, Rasmussen assures that nothing the team has learned so far has been alarming. "We're confident that we understand the problem well," he said, "and we remain optimistic about getting everything back to normal — but we also expect this won't be the last."

The trajectory of the Voyagers.

In fact, as Rasmussen explains, Voyager 1 operators first became optimistic about the situation just after the root cause of the glitch had been determined with certainty. He also emphasizes that the team's spirits were never down. "We knew from indirect evidence that we had a spacecraft that was mostly healthy," he said. "Saying goodbye was not on our minds."

"Rather," he continued, "we wanted to push toward a solution as quickly as possible so other matters on board that had been neglected for months could be addressed. We're now calmly moving toward that goal."

The future of Voyager's voyage

It can't be ignored that, over the last few months, there has been an air of anxiety and fear across the public sphere that Voyager 1 was slowly moving toward sending us its final 0 and final 1. Headlines all over the internet, one written by  myself included , have carried clear, negative weight. I think it's because even if Voyager 2 could technically carry the interstellar torch post-Voyager 1, the prospect of losing Voyager 1 felt like the prospect of losing a piece of history. 

"We've crossed this boundary called the heliopause," Spilker explained of the Voyagers. "Voyager 1 crossed this boundary in 2012; Voyager 2 crossed it in 2018 — and, since that time, were the first spacecraft ever to make direct measurements of the interstellar medium." That medium basically refers to material that fills the space between stars. In this case, that's the space between other stars and our sun, which, though we don't always think of it as one, is simply another star in the universe. A drop in the cosmic ocean.

"JPL started building the two Voyager spacecraft in 1972," Spilker explained. "For context, that was only three years after we had the first human walk on the moon — and the reason we started that early is that we had this rare alignment of the planets that happens once every  176 years ." It was this alignment that could promise the spacecraft checkpoints across the solar system, including at Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Those checkpoints were important for the Voyagers in particular. Alongside planetary visits come gravity assists, and gravity assists can help fling stuff within the solar system — and, now we know, beyond.

As the first humanmade object to leave the solar system, as a relic of America's early space program, and as a testament to how robust even decades-old technology can be, Voyager 1 has carved out the kind of legacy usually reserved for remarkable things lost to time.

The

"Our scientists are eager to see what they’ve been missing," Rasmussen remarked. "Everyone on the team is self-motivated by their commitment to this unique and important project. That's where the real pressure comes from." 

Still, in terms of energy, the team's approach has been clinical and determined. 

— NASA's Voyager 1 sends readable message to Earth after 4 nail-biting months of gibberish

— NASA engineers discover why Voyager 1 is sending a stream of gibberish from outside our solar system

— NASA's Voyager 1 probe hasn't 'spoken' in 3 months and needs a 'miracle' to save it

"No one was ever especially excited or depressed," he said. "We're confident that we can get back to business as usual soon, but we also know that we're dealing with an aging spacecraft that is bound to have trouble again in the future. That's just a fact of life on this mission, so not worth getting worked up about."

Nonetheless, I imagine it's always a delight for Voyager 1's engineers to remember this robotic explorer occupies curious minds around the globe. (Including my dad's mind now, thanks to me and Google.)

As Rasmussen puts it: "It's wonderful to know how much the world appreciates this mission."

Originally posted on Space.com .

Monisha Ravisetti is Space.com's Astronomy Editor. She covers black holes, star explosions, gravitational waves, exoplanet discoveries and other enigmas hidden across the fabric of space and time. Previously, she was a science writer at CNET, and before that, reported for The Academic Times. Prior to becoming a writer, she was an immunology researcher at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. She graduated from New York University in 2018 with a B.A. in philosophy, physics and chemistry. She spends too much time playing online chess. Her favorite planet is Earth.

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what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

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Saturn Taken from Voyager 2

This Voyager 2 image of Saturn was acquired on Aug. 4, 1981, from a distance of 21 million kilometers (13 million miles).

This Voyager 2 image of Saturn was acquired on Aug. 4, 1981, from a distance of 21 million kilometers (13 million miles).

what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

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what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

'Star Trek: Discovery' Series Finale Marked a Flawed but Ambitious End to a Successful Franchise Reboot | Commentary

I f you've been part of the "Star Trek" journey, you'll understand the significance of measuring your life in the series finales you've witnessed: "The Next Generation." "Deep Space Nine." "Voyager." "Enterprise." Each one a milestone.

And now, with the final episode of "Star Trek: Discovery" streaming on Paramount+, we add one more to the mix, like the rings of a tree trunk — or rather, Saturn. This series, now complete, is sure to spark intense conversations and debates among fans as it finds its place in the vast Trek universe.

Debuting in 2017, "Discovery" represented the franchise's return to television after an extended hiatus of over a decade following the 2005 cancellation of "Star Trek: Enterprise." With an impressive budget and an aesthetic approach wholly distinct from the 1960s original and the various sequels and spin-offs that aired during the '80s and '90s, the series garnered new loyal fans for the franchise even as it ruffled the feathers of some longtime devotees.

"Discovery," a creation of Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman, was not without its challenges. Starring Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander-turned-Captain Michael Burnham, the series had to navigate the changing tides of television sensibilities and the demands of a vocal fanbase. It wasn't always a smooth journey, but it aimed to give audiences something both familiar and fresh.

And just as the show was often more ambitious than its execution allowed, one can say the same about the finale, "Life, Itself." Spanning a staggering 88 minutes, it's the longest single episode of TV Trek ever. Initially filmed as a regular season-ender, it was later tasked with concluding the entire series, leading to a hasty epilogue that attempts to tie up loose ends. The result is a final episode that feels both too rushed and too languid, with a feeling of checking off boxes as it cycles through plot points. 

Certain characters get showcase moments (let's hear it for Doug Jones' Ambassador Saru!) while others are left wildly underserved (pity poor Anthony Rapp as Commander Paul Stamets). Meanwhile, the central storyline of the season involving an alien race who seeded intelligent life in the universe (itself an excavation of a bit of lore from a 1993 episode of "The Next Generation") reaches a resolution that's tidy enough, but calls into question why we went on this journey to begin with.  

Then again, the finale also demonstrates the unique challenges "Discovery" has faced since its debut. As a prequel set nine years before "Star Trek: The Original Series," it asked a lot from fans, both in terms of its storytelling approach (while long-form serialized stories aren't new to "Trek," "Discovery" leaned into the format hard) and its digressions from extant lore (a.k.a. the all-important canon, constantly unfurling like a tapestry ever since the '60s).

By ostensibly situating the show within the original timeline (as opposed to the alternative universe of the 2009-2016 trilogy starring Chris Pine) and having to tiptoe around issues related to canon, the producers realized the prequel setting was creating more problems than it was solving. Thus, at the end of the second season, the good ship Discovery pulled up stakes and decamped to the far-flung 32nd century, wholly unexplored in prior Trek tales and free from any pesky continuity conundrums to worry about.

The trade-off, however, was that the new setting, bereft of the trappings fans knew and loved, made for an uphill climb as far as retaining audience investment. "Discovery" arrives in a future where "Star Trek's" utopian future has fallen into disarray — Starfleet is disbanded; the Federation is a shadow of its former self. Thus, it fell to the time-displaced crew of the Discovery to reclaim the ideals of optimism they represent and restore Starfleet to its formerly preeminent perch.

Not a bad mission statement, but as was so often the case with "Discovery," the loftiness of its ambitions had a tendency to run headlong into the dodginess of its execution, with characters behaving inconsistently from episode to episode and wordy technobabble serving as a substitute for problem-solving. Still, "Discovery" now has a complete beginning, middle and end, and the fans who came into the franchise through this show will no doubt continue to revisit and cherish it. 

The "Discovery" finale arrives precisely 30 years and one week after the final episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" aired. That episode, 1994's "All Good Things," remains one of the most beloved finales of all time, Trek or otherwise. As such, perhaps it's unfair to force comparisons, but on the other hand, it's impossible not to, given the symmetry of their airdates.

When "The Next Generation" concluded, the franchise was at its absolute peak in terms of public awareness and acceptance, and its finale reflected that. By contrast, "Life, Itself" is an invite-only affair, reflecting its place as a streaming skein with a fraction of "The Next Generation's" substantial audience. 

As fans of the prequel series "Star Trek: Enterprise" (cut down in its prime after a mere four seasons … the wound still hurts), we remember well when that show first premiered (in the fall of 2001) and the subsequent sturm and drang amongst the fandom over whether it should be considered canon. Viewers eventually came around to, if not embracing, at least accepting that the show exists. We suspect something similar is in store for "Discovery" as years turn into decades.

But as we wait for history to weigh in on "Star Trek: Discovery," let's not overlook its most remarkable achievement. It's not just a show; it's a catalyst. In the seven years since "Discovery's" debut, it opened the floodgates to a plethora of spin-offs -- with more "Trek" in production at once than at any other time in history. This is a testament to the enduring power and appeal of the "Star Trek" universe and a cause for celebration among fans, regardless of which flavors of the franchise they prefer.

There's the still-going "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" (now setting course for its third season). There's the recently concluded "Star Trek: Picard." There's the soon-to-conclude "Star Trek: Lower Decks" and "Star Trek: Prodigy," which was canceled by Paramount but rescued by Netflix. But that's not all! A "Section 31" movie is on the way, depicting the seedier side of Starfleet and spinning off directly from "Discovery's" second season. There's also an upcoming "Starfleet Academy" show starring Holly Hunter and set during "Discovery's" 32nd century timeframe. 

Truly, it's a bumper crop of TV Trekking for anyone inclined to delve into new and different corners of the final frontier. And none of it would exist if "Discovery" hadn't shaken loose the cobwebs and made it safe to go boldly once again.

All five seasons of "Star Trek: Discovery" are available to stream on Paramount+.

The post 'Star Trek: Discovery' Series Finale Marked a Flawed but Ambitious End to a Successful Franchise Reboot | Commentary appeared first on TheWrap .

"Star Trek: Discovery"

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what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

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30 years ago: voyager 2 explores neptune, johnson space center.

In the summer of 1989, NASA’s Voyager 2 became the first spacecraft to fly by Neptune, its final planetary encounter. Managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Voyagers 1 and 2 were a pair of spacecraft launched in 1977 to explore the outer planets. Initially targeted only to visit Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 2 took advantage of a rare planetary alignment that occurs once every 175 years to complete two additional encounters in the outer solar system. In January 1986, Voyager 2 became the first spacecraft to investigate Uranus and used that planet’s gravity to alter its trajectory to explore Neptune, the outermost planet of the solar system. Because of Neptune’s great distance from the Sun, engineers made changes to Voyager’s imaging techniques to accommodate light levels only 3% of what they were during the Jupiter encounter. Short exposures were on the order of 15 seconds while longer ones were measured in minutes. Image motion compensation techniques were programmed into Voyager’s computer to maintain clear photographs at those long exposures coupled with the spacecraft’s velocity. NASA also upgraded the tracking antennas of the Deep Space Network to increase their sensitivity to receive Voyager’s signals from Neptune’s distance. Because of its remoteness, relatively little was known about Neptune prior to the Voyager encounter. It had two known moons, the larger Triton orbiting relatively close to the planet but in a retrograde direction, indicating it might have been captured by Neptune, and tiny Nereid in a far-flung but posigrade orbit. Observations from Earth seemed to indicate that Neptune was encircled by dark rings or ring arcs, but the evidence was inconclusive.

voyager_2_launch

Each Voyager carried a suite of 11 instruments, including: 

  • an imaging science system consisting of narrow-angle and wide-angle cameras to photograph the planet and its satellites;
  • a radio science system to determine the planet’s physical properties;
  • an infrared interferometer spectrometer to investigate local and global energy balance and atmospheric composition;
  • an ultraviolet spectrometer to measure atmospheric properties;
  • a magnetometer to analyze the planet’s magnetic field and interaction with the solar wind;
  • a plasma spectrometer to investigate microscopic properties of plasma ions;
  • a low energy charged particle device to measure fluxes and distributions of ions;
  • a cosmic ray detection system to determine the origin and behavior of cosmic radiation;
  • a planetary radio astronomy investigation to study radio emissions from Jupiter;
  • a photopolarimeter to measure the planet’s surface composition; and
  • a plasma wave system to study the planet’s magnetosphere.

voyager_instruments

Voyager 2 began to observe Neptune on June 5, 1989, at a distance of 73 million miles. Even at this range, Voyager’s images were already four times better than those obtained by Earth-based telescopes. It soon made the first of its many discoveries of the encounter: the moon later named Proteus orbiting about 73,000 miles from Neptune, and with a diameter of 260 miles actually larger than the known moon Nereid – it is not clear how it had escaped detection by Earth-based telescopes. By early August, Voyager 2 had discovered three more small moons (Despina, Galatea, and Larissa) orbiting closer to the planet than Proteus. Larissa had been spotted in 1981 but Voyager 2 confirmed its existence. The photographs of Neptune revealed a dynamic atmosphere including an Earth-sized storm system named the Great Dark Spot and wind speeds reaching up to 1,000 miles per hour. Voyager returned the first images of Neptune’s rings which turned out to be a system of five rings composed mostly of dark dust and discovered two more small moons (Thalassa and Naiad). Like at Saturn and Uranus, the rings and four of the moons at Neptune form an intricate interrelated system. The spacecraft also imaged Neptune’s previously discovered moon Nereid at low resolution from about 3 million miles away. Voyager discovered that Neptune’s magnetic field was not only tilted 47o from the planet’s axis but also significantly offset from the planet’s center.

voyager_2_neptune_from_35_000_000_miles

On Aug. 25, passing about 3,408 miles above Neptune’s north pole, Voyager 2 made its closest approach to any planet since leaving Earth in 1977. This close encounter trajectory allowed Voyager 2 to pass about 25,000 miles from Triton about five hours later. Triton was the last solid body the spacecraft explored and the encounter did not disappoint with several amazing discoveries. With relatively few impact craters, Triton’s surface is believed to be young, having been remodeled by melting. Despite Triton’s frigid -392o F surface temperature, Voyager’s images revealed evidence of geysers spewing dark material into the moon’s tenuous atmosphere that deposited back onto the surface. Voyager passed behind both Neptune and Triton, with instruments returning data about their atmospheres. The spacecraft also returned spectacular images of the two bodies backlit by the Sun. On its outbound journey, Voyager 2 continued to study Neptune until Oct. 2, 1989.  In all, it had returned more than 9,000 images of the planet, its rings and its moons as well as a treasure trove of scientific information, tremendously increasing our knowledge of the most distant planet in the solar system.

voyager_2_neptune_triton_southern_hemisphere

Following its reconnaissance of Neptune, Voyager 2 began its Interstellar Mission extension that continues to this day. Over the years, several of the spacecraft’s instruments have been turned off to conserve power, beginning with the imaging system in 1989, but it continues to return data about cosmic rays and the solar wind. On Nov. 5, 2018, six years after its twin, Voyager 2 crossed the heliopause, the boundary between the heliosphere, the bubble-like region of space created by the Sun, and the interstellar medium. It is expected that Voyager 2 will continue to return data from interstellar space until about 2025. And just in case it may one day be found by an alien intelligence, Voyager 2 like its twin carries a gold plated record that contains information about its home planet, including recordings of terrestrial sounds, music and greetings in 55 languages. Instructions on how to play the record are also included.

voyager_golden_record

IMAGES

  1. Voyager 2 Photo Of Saturn Photograph by NASA / Science Source

    what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

  2. Saturn Taken from Voyager 2

    what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

  3. What Did VOYAGER 2 See On Its Journey Through The SOLAR SYSTEM?

    what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

  4. 'Voyager 2 Image of Saturn & Its Rings' Photographic Print

    what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

  5. Voyager 2 Image of Saturn

    what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

  6. 38 years since Voyager 2 made its closest approach to Saturn

    what did voyager 2 discover about saturn

VIDEO

  1. Planet Uranus Voyager 2 Flyby

  2. "Voyager 1 Just Transmitted A Terrifying Message Back To Earth...."

  3. Voyager 2 Sent Back Its Final Images From Space. What Did It Find?

  4. 7 MINUTES AGO: Voyager 2 Just Turned Back After NEW Terrifying Discovery

  5. Voyager 1 is no more

  6. How far has voyager 1 and 2 traveled/#Voyager 1 # voyager mission

COMMENTS

  1. Voyager

    The Voyager 1 and 2 Saturn encounters occurred nine months apart, in November 1980 and August 1981. Voyager 1 is leaving the solar system. Voyager 2 completed its encounter with Uranus in January 1986 and with Neptune in August 1989, and is now also en route out of the solar system. The two Saturn encounters increased our knowledge and altered ...

  2. Voyager 2

    When Voyager 2 passed behind Saturn, viewed from Earth, it utilized its radio link to investigate Saturn's upper atmosphere, ... Voyager 2 discovered two previously unknown Uranian rings. Measurements showed that the Uranian rings are different from those at Jupiter and Saturn. The Uranian ring system might be relatively young, and it did not ...

  3. Voyager 2: An iconic spacecraft that's still exploring 45 years on

    In about 40,000 years Voyager 2 will pass 1.7 light-years (9.7 trillion miles) from the star Ross 248, according to NASA JPL. The cosmic vagabond will continue its journey through interstellar ...

  4. 40 Years On, Remembering Voyager's Legacy at Saturn

    Voyager 2 made its closest approach to Saturn 40 years ago - on Aug. 25, 1981. What the Voyagers revealed at the planet was so phenomenal that, just one year later, a joint American and European working group began discussing a mission that would carry on the legacy of the Voyagers at Saturn. That mission - Cassini - studied the Saturn ...

  5. Voyager

    The Voyager 1 and 2 Saturn encounters occurred nine months apart, in November 1980 and August 1981. Voyager 1 is leaving the solar system. Voyager 2 completed its encounter with Uranus in January 1986 and with Neptune in August 1989, and is now also en route out of the solar system. For a summary of scientific findings by the two Voyagers at ...

  6. 35 Years On, Voyager's Legacy Continues at Saturn

    Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Saturn 35 years ago. The Cassini mission has followed up on many of Voyager's discoveries. Saturn, with its alluring rings and numerous moons, has long fascinated stargazers and scientists. After an initial flyby of Pioneer 11 in 1979, humanity got a second, much ...

  7. In 1981, Voyager 2's visit to Saturn completely changed the ...

    Voyager 1 made it on November 12, 1980, and just a little shy of one year later, Voyager 2 entered the Saturn system on August 26, 1981. "The first flyby was unique in that we found so many ...

  8. Saturn Taken from Voyager 2

    Saturn Taken from Voyager 2. Dec. 5, 1998. This true color picture was assembled from Voyager 2 Saturn images obtained Aug. 4 from a distance of 21 million kilometers (13 million miles) on the spacecraft's approach trajectory. Three of Saturn's icy moons are evident at left.

  9. Voyager 2

    About the mission. The Voyager 2 spacecraft, which has been in operation since 1977 and is the only spacecraft to have ever visited Uranus and Neptune, has made its way to interstellar space, where its twin spacecraft, Voyager 1, has resided since August 2012. During its travels through the outer solar system, Voyager 2 visited all four gas ...

  10. Happy Anniversary, Voyager 2! NASA Probe Flew by Saturn 35 Years Ago

    published 25 August 2016. NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft captured this view of Saturn on Aug. 11, 1981, two weeks before its closest approach to the ringed planet.(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech ...

  11. The remarkable engineering triumph of the Voyager program

    Clayton: Give us a quick overview of the Voyager project that started going on 47 years ago now. Spilker: The two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977, and their original mission was to visit the four outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, which Voyager 2 did, visiting all four planets. And then after that, continue to study the ...

  12. Historic space photo of the week: Voyager 2 spies a storm on Saturn 42

    Voyager 2 took this image of Saturn on Aug. 11, 1981, when the spacecraft was 9.1 million miles from Earth. ... Scientists just discovered an enormous lithium reservoir under Pennsylvania. 5.

  13. 40 Years Ago: Voyager 1 Explores Saturn

    Today, Voyager 1 is the most distant spacecraft from Earth, more than 14 billion miles away and continuing on its journey out of our solar system. Forty years ago, it made its closest approach to Saturn. Although it was not the first to explore the giant ringed planet, as the Pioneer 11 spacecraft completed the first flyby in 1979, Voyager ...

  14. Voyager 1's Revival Offers Inspiration for Everyone on Earth

    Voyager 1 sent back spectacular photos of Jupiter and its giant red spot. It showed how dynamic the Jovian atmosphere was, with clouds and storms. It also took pictures of Jupiter's moon Io ...

  15. Saturn Then and Now: 30 Years Since Voyager Visit

    The F ring curiosity was only one of many strange phenomena discovered in the Voyager close encounters with Saturn, which occurred on Nov. 12, 1980, for Voyager 1, and Aug. 25, 1981, for Voyager 2. The Voyager encounters were responsible for finding six small moons and revealing the half-young, half-old terrain of Enceladus that had to point to ...

  16. A 'Parade of Planets' Is Coming. Here's How to Watch This Sky Show

    May 28, 2024 10:34 AM EDT. O ne of the solar system's most fortuitous conga lines occurred in the late 1970s, when the four gas giants—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune—formed a neat ...

  17. Things are finally looking up for the Voyager 1 interstellar spacecraft

    By Monisha Ravisetti. published 28 May 2024. Two of the four science instruments aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft are now returning usable data after months of transmitting only gibberish, NASA ...

  18. 30 Years Ago: Voyager 2's Historic Neptune Flyby

    Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Thirty years ago, on Aug. 25, 1989, NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft made a close flyby of Neptune, giving humanity its first close-up of our solar system's eighth planet. Marking the end of the Voyager mission's Grand Tour of the solar system's four giant planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — that ...

  19. Saturn Taken from Voyager 2

    Saturn Taken from Voyager 2. (jpg) (59.85 KB) NASA explores the unknown in air and space, innovates for the benefit of humanity, and inspires the world through discovery. This Voyager 2 image of Saturn was acquired on Aug. 4, 1981, from a distance of 21 million kilometers (13 million miles).

  20. 40 Years Ago: Voyager 2 Explores Jupiter

    Forty years ago, the Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Jupiter. Managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the Voyagers were a pair of spacecraft launched in 1977 to explore the outer planets. Initially targeted only to visit Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 2 went on to investigate Uranus and Neptune as well ...

  21. 'Star Trek: Discovery' Series Finale Marked a Flawed but ...

    "Enterprise." Each one a milestone. And now, with the final episode of "Star Trek: Discovery" streaming on Paramount+, we add one more to the mix, like the rings of a tree trunk — or rather, Saturn.

  22. 35 Years Ago: Voyager 2 Explores Uranus

    It also required Voyager 2 to complete its close encounter observations in just a few hours, compared with several days for the Jupiter and Saturn flybys. On Dec. 30, Voyager 2 discovered its first new moon, eventually named Puck, orbiting closer to Uranus than Miranda.

  23. 30 Years Ago: Voyager 2 Explores Neptune

    In the summer of 1989, NASA's Voyager 2 became the first spacecraft to fly by Neptune, its final planetary encounter. Managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Voyagers 1 and 2 were a pair of spacecraft launched in 1977 to explore the outer planets. Initially targeted only to visit Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 2 took ...