Category: voyager

This photograph of Neptune’s southern …

This photograph of Neptune’s southern hemisphere was taken by the narrow-angle camera on NASA’s Voyager 2 when the spacecraft was 4.2 million km (2.6 million miles) from the planet.

Image credit: NASA/JPL

Jupiter – June 21 1979

Jupiter – June 21 1979

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Kevin M. Gill

Saturn’s atmosphere exhibits a banded pa…

Saturn’s atmosphere exhibits a banded pattern similar to Jupiter’s, but Saturn’s bands are much fainter and are much wider near the equator. The nomenclature used to describe these bands is the same as on Jupiter. Saturn’s finer cloud patterns were not observed until the flybys of the Voyager spacecraft during the 1980s. Since then, Earth-based telescopy has improved to the point where regular observations can be made. The composition of the clouds varies with depth and increasing pressure.

The winds on Saturn are the second fastest among the Solar System’s planets, after Neptune’s. Voyager data indicate peak easterly winds of 500 m/s (1,800 km/h).

Thermography has shown that Saturn’s south pole has a warm polar vortex, the only known example of such a phenomenon in the Solar System. Whereas temperatures on Saturn are normally −185 °C, temperatures on the vortex often reach as high as −122 °C, suspected to be the warmest spot on Saturn.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute and Kevin M. Gill

On this day in 1846 the astronomer William Las…

On this day in 1846 the astronomer William Lassell discovered the largest moon of Neptune, Triton.

It is the only large moon in the Solar System with a retrograde orbit, an orbit in the direction opposite to its planet’s rotation. At 2,710 kilometres in diameter, it is the seventh-largest moon in the Solar System. Because of its retrograde orbit and composition similar to Pluto’s, Triton is thought to have been a dwarf planet captured from the Kuiper belt. Triton has a surface of mostly frozen nitrogen, a mostly water-ice crust, an icy mantle and a substantial core of rock and metal. The core makes up two-thirds of its total mass.

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All detailed knowledge of the surface of Triton was acquired from a distance of 40,000 km by the Voyager 2spacecraft during a single encounter in 1989. The 40% of Triton’s surface imaged by Voyager 2 revealed blocky outcrops, ridges, troughs, furrows, hollows, plateaus, icy plains and few craters.

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Triton is geologically active; its surface is young and has relatively few impact craters. Although Triton’s crust is made of various ices, its subsurface processes are similar to those that produce volcanoes and rift valleys on Earth, but with water and ammonia as opposed to liquid rock.

Triton’s entire surface is cut by complex valleys and ridges, probably the result of tectonics and icy volcanism. The vast majority of surface features on Triton are endogenic—the result of internal geological processes rather than external processes such as impacts. Most are volcanic and extrusive in nature, rather than tectonic

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The Voyager 2 probe observed in 1989 a handful of geyser-like eruptions of nitrogen gas and entrained dust from beneath the surface of Triton in plumes up to 8 km high.

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Triton is thus, along with Earth, Io, and Enceladus, one of the few bodies in the Solar System on which active eruptions of some sort have been observed. (source)

 images: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ISS 

In October 1980 the Voyager probe discovered t…

In October 1980 the Voyager probe discovered three small moons of Saturn, Pandora, Atlas and Prometheus. (source & images)

Their tech may be outdated, but both Voyagers …

Their tech may be outdated, but both Voyagers are still going strong and sending us back information 40 years later! Considering how old their tech is, that’s pretty damn impressive. You can read more about them here: http://www.astronomy.com/news/2018/07/forty-years-and-still-going-strong

Post-encounter view of Neptune’s south p…

Post-encounter view of Neptune’s south pole.

Credit: NASA

Saturn – August 1 1981

Saturn – August 1 1981

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Kevin M. Gill

Possible variations in chemical composition …

Possible variations in chemical composition from one part of Saturn’s ring system to another are visible in this Voyager 2 picture as subtle color variations that can be recorded with special computer-processing techniques.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL

This gold aluminium cover was designed to pr…

This gold aluminium cover was designed to protect the Voyager 1 and 2 “Sounds of Earth” gold-plated records from micrometeorite bombardment, but also serves a double purpose in providing the finder a key to playing the record. The explanatory diagram appears on both the inner and outer surfaces of the cover, as the outer diagram will be eroded in time. Flying aboard Voyagers 1 and 2 are identical “golden” records, carrying the story of Earth far into deep space. The 12 inch gold-plated copper discs contain greetings in 60 languages, samples of music from different cultures and eras, and natural and man-made sounds from Earth. They also contain electronic information that an advanced technological civilization could convert into diagrams and photographs. Currently, both Voyager probes are sailing adrift in the black sea of interplanetary space, flying towards the outmost border of our solar system.

Credit: NASA/JPL