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Solar System Montage Of Voyager Images
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This montage of images taken by the Voyager spacecraft of the planets and four of Jupiter's moons is set against a false-color Rosette Nebula with Earth's moon in the foreground. Studying and mapping Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and many of their moons, Voyager provided scientists with better images and data than they had ever had before or expected from the program. Although launched sixteen days after Voyager 2, Voyager 1's trajectory was a faster path, arriving at Jupiter in March 1979. Voyager 2 arrived about four months later in July 1979. Both spacecraft were then directed to Saturn with Voyager 1 arriving in November 1980 and Voyager 2 in August 1981. Voyager 2 was then diverted to the remaining gas giants, Uranus in January 1986 and Neptune in August 1989. Data collection continues by both Voyager 1 and 2 as the renamed Voyager Interstellar Mission searches for the edge of the solar wind influence (the heliopause) and exits the Solar System. A shortened list of the discoveries of Voyager 1 and 2 include: the discovery of the Uranian and Neptunian magnetospheres (magnetic environments caused by various types of planet cores); the discovery of twenty-two new satellites including three at Jupiter, three at Saturn, ten at Uranus, and six at Neptune; Io was found to have active volcanism (the only other Solar System body than Earth to be confirmed); Triton was found to have active geyser-like structures and an atmosphere; Auroral Zones (where gases become excited after being hit by solar particles) were discovered at Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune; Jupiter was found to have rings; Neptune, originally thought to be too cold to support such atmospheric disturbances, had large-scale storms.
Image Credit: NASA
February 19th, 2013
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