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#922694 - 08/27/17 05:08 PM Space Epics - Still Voyaging 40 Years on  
Joined: May 2010
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Mona - Astronomy Online content
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Chimpanzee

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One of space exploration's greatest missions was Voyager. Forty years on, its two spacecraft are still operational and going where no spacecraft has gone before!

In 2013 Voyager 1 slipped into interstellar space, the space between the Sun and the stars. But what was a space probe doing twelve billion miles from home? To answer this question, we need to go back to the early 1960s when competition in space between the USA and the Soviet Union was part of the Cold War.

Voyagers - Preparing for the Grand Tour

Last edited by Mona - Astronomy; 08/28/17 04:30 AM.

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#922746 - 08/30/17 07:57 AM Re: Space Epics - Still Voyaging 40 Years on [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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Here is a "simplified" diagram of the two Voyager trajectories.

Voyager 1 is the light brown broken line and Voyager 2 is the blue one. If you follow each separately from launch, the diagram makes more sense.

Note that the relevant planets are shown more than once. The position of a planet is shown at launch, and also where it was when the spacecraft did its flyby. Jupiter and Saturn have four positions, since both Voyagers visited them. Uranus and Neptune have only two.

It shows you how the spacecraft and the planet in its orbit converged. It was the understanding of Newtonian dynamics in the Solar System that made this possible. Over three hundred years ago Isaac Newton really knew his stuff!


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#922787 - 08/31/17 05:53 PM Re: Space Epics - Still Voyaging 40 Years on [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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Voyagers - the Golden Record
The Voyagers are on a mission that will eventually take them to the stars. They are both carrying a message from Earth. What images, sounds and music were chosen to represent the people of Earth?

What would you choose for a golden record to represent what you love best about Earth?


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#922810 - 09/01/17 04:46 PM Re: Space Epics - Still Voyaging 40 Years on [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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The Golden Record's sounds of Earth includes Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode". On US comedy TV show Saturday Night Live Steve Martin announced that aliens had found one of the Voyagers and sent a message back. [Click to see the 4-word message!]

Last edited by Mona - Astronomy; 09/04/17 06:22 AM.

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#922875 - 09/04/17 06:43 AM Re: Space Epics - Still Voyaging 40 Years on [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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August 21st - the day of the North American solar eclipse - marked the 40th anniversary of the launch of Voyager 2.

Voyager 2 - The Grand Tour

Most of our knowledge of Neptune and Uranus is based on Voyager 2's visits. Its grand tour of the four giant planets used a rare alignment of the planets that let the gravity of each one boost the spacecraft to the next one. No other probe has been to either of the ice giants.


Last edited by Mona - Astronomy; 09/04/17 06:44 AM.

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#922904 - 09/05/17 04:12 PM Re: Space Epics - Still Voyaging 40 Years on [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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Today is the 40th anniversary of the launch of Voyager 1. This is the first part of its amazing story.

When a rare planetary alignment opened up the outer Solar System, Voyager 1 was sent forth. It observed the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn and their moons. At nearly 4 billion miles from the Sun, the probe turned and took one last picture of home before continuing its journey to the stars.

Voyager 1 – Gas Giants and a Last Look Homeward


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#922972 - 09/08/17 03:40 AM Re: Space Epics - Still Voyaging 40 Years on [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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In 1990 Voyager 1 was four billion miles from home and had left all the planets behind. Carl Sagan persuaded NASA to have the spacecraft turn around and photograph what it was leaving behind. Voyager took sixty frames to make a solar system mosaic. Earth is just a point of light, a fraction of a pixel. You'll have to look hard to find it. (Hint: look in the ray on the far right.)
Quote:
Coincidentally, Earth lies right in the center of one of the scattered light rays resulting from taking the image so close to the sun. This blown-up image of the Earth was taken through three color filters -- violet, blue and green -- and recombined to produce the color image. The background features in the image are artifacts resulting from the magnification.

The tiny image of Earth Sagan dubbed the "pale blue dot".


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#922975 - 09/08/17 08:08 AM Re: Space Epics - Still Voyaging 40 Years on [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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space is so huge.

#923040 - 09/10/17 11:30 AM Re: Space Epics - Still Voyaging 40 Years on [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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Chimpanzee

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Carl Sagan's memorable "pale blue dot" is here beautifully rendered by the talented graphic artist Zen Pencils. Its message may be even more important to consider now than it was over a quarter a century ago.


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#923092 - 09/12/17 09:24 AM Re: Space Epics - Still Voyaging 40 Years on [Re: Mona - Astronomy]  
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Chimpanzee

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Where does the Solar System end? Good question.

Some say it ends at Neptune, the most distant planet. But that doesn't make sense, because we know of many objects much farther out than Neptune, even farther away than Pluto. In fact, about two light years from the Sun is a swarm of comets called the Oort Cloud. These objects are gravitationally bound to the Sun, so are part of the Solar System.

However the planets, and even icy objects beyond Pluto, are in a sort of bubble called the heliosphere which is maintained by the solar wind of particles given out by the Sun. Leaving the heliosphere would take you into the truly unknown, into space not dominated by the Sun. So, in a sense, this is leaving the Solar System. This is crossing into interstellar space, the space between the stars.

One human creation has crossed that boundary between the Solar System and the rest of the Galaxy.

Voyager 1 – the First Starship

Has Voyager 1 finally left the Solar System? No, that won't happen for tens of thousands of years. But it has left the bubble that the solar wind makes in space. The spacecraft is in the space between the stars, moving through a plasma made from ancient supernova explosions.


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