Voyager’s 2 Image of Neptune Taken 25 Years Ago

Voyager’s 2 Image of Neptune Taken 25 Years Ago

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NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first glimpse of Neptune and its moon Triton in the summer of 1989. This picture of Neptune was produced from the last whole planet images taken through the green and orange filters on the Voyager 2 narrow angle camera. The images were taken on Aug. 20, 1989, at a range of 4.4 million miles from the planet, 4 days and 20 hours before closest approach on Aug. 25. The picture shows the Great Dark Spot and its companion bright smudge; on the west limb the fast moving bright feature called “Scooter” and the little dark spot are visible. These clouds were seen to persist for as long as Voyager’s cameras could resolve them. North of these, a bright cloud band similar to the south polar streak may be seen.

In the summer of 2015, another NASA mission to the farthest zone of the solar system, New Horizons, will make a historic first close-up study of Pluto. Although a fast flyby, New Horizons’ Pluto encounter on July 14, 2015, will not be a replay of Voyager but more of a sequel and a reboot, with a new and more technologically advanced spacecraft and, more importantly, a new cast of characters. Those characters are Pluto and its family of five known moons, all of which will be seen up close for the first time next summer.

Image Credit: NASA

A Valentine from Voyager 23 years ago

A Valentine from Voyager 23 years ago

Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune as seen by Voyager 1 on Valentine’s Day in 1990 (NASA)

Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune as seen by Voyager 1 on Valentine’s Day in 1990 (NASA)

On February 14, 1990, after nearly 13 years of travel through the outer Solar System, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft crossed the orbit of Pluto and turned its camera around, capturing photos of the planets as seen from that vast distance. It was a family portrait taken from over 4.4 billion kilometers away — the ultimate space Valentine.

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On February 14, 1990, after nearly 13 years of travel through the outer Solar System, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft crossed the orbit of Pluto and turned its camera around, capturing photos of the planets as seen from that vast distance. It was a family portrait taken from over 4.4 billion kilometers away — the ultimate space Valentine.

On February 14, 1990, after nearly 13 years of travel through the outer Solar System, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft crossed the orbit of Pluto and turned its camera around, capturing photos of the planets as seen from that vast distance. It was a family portrait taken from over 4.4 billion kilometers away — the ultimate space Valentine.

 

“That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives… There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.”

– Carl Sagan

It was the unique perspective above provided by Voyager 1 that inspired Carl Sagan to first coin the phrase “Pale Blue Dot”in reference to our planet. And it’s true… from the edges of the solar system Earth isjust a pale blue dot in a black sky, a bright speck just like all the other planets. It’s a sobering and somewhat chilling image of our world… but also inspiring, as the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft are now the farthest human-made objects in existence — and getting farther every second. They still faithfully transmit data back to us even now, over 35 years since their launches, from 18.5 and 15.2 billion kilometers away.

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Source: Universe Today

 

Voyager Golden Record – a message to Aliens

Voyager Golden Record – a message to Aliens

The Voyager Golden Records are phonograph records which were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft, which were launched in 1977. They contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them. The Voyager spacecrafts are not heading towards any particular star, but Voyager 1 will be within 1.6 light years of the star Gliese 445, currently in the constellation Camelopardalis, in about 40,000 years.

As the probes are extremely small compared to the vastness of interstellar space, the probability of a space-faring civilization encountering them is very small, especially since the probes will eventually stop emitting any kind of electromagnetic radiation.

Carl Sagan noted that “The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this ‘bottle’ into the cosmic ‘ocean’ says something very hopeful about life on this planet.” Thus the record is best seen as a time capsule or a symbolic statement more than a serious attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life.

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The Voyager Golden Record

 

As of 2012, the two Voyager spacecraft became the third and fourth human artifacts to escape entirely from the solar system. Pioneers 10 and 11, which were launched in 1972 and 1973 and preceded Voyager in outstripping the gravitational attraction of the Sun, both carried small metal plaques identifying their time and place of origin for the benefit of any other spacefarers that might find them in the distant future.

With this example before them, NASA placed a more comprehensive message aboard Voyager 1 and 2—a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials.

This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. –  U.S. President Jimmy Carter

The record is constructed of gold-plated copper. The record’s cover is aluminum and electroplated upon it is an ultra-pure sample of the isotope uranium-238. Uranium-238 has a half-life of 4.51 billion years. It is possible that a civilization that encounters the record will be able to use the ratio of remaining uranium to daughter elements to determine the age of the record.

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 Cover of the Voyager Golden Record

 

The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University. Sagan and his associates assembled 116 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind, thunder and animals (including the songs of birds and whales). To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, spoken greetings in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Jimmy Carter and U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim.

The collection of images includes many photographs and diagrams both in black and white and color. The first images are of scientific interest, showing mathematical and physical quantities, the solar system and its planets, DNA, and human anatomy and reproduction. Care was taken to include not only pictures of humanity, but also some of animals, insects, plants and landscapes. Images of humanity depict a broad range of cultures. These images show food, architecture, and humans in portraits as well as going about their day to day lives. Many pictures are annotated with one or more indications of scales of time, size, or mass. Some images contain indications of chemical composition. All measures used on the pictures are defined in the first few images using physical references that are likely to be consistent anywhere in the universe.

The musical selection is also varied, featuring artists such as Beethoven, Guan Pinghu, Mozart, Stravinsky, Blind Willie Johnson, Chuck Berry and Kesarbai Kerkar.

After NASA had received criticism over the nudity on the Pioneer plaque (line drawings of a naked man and woman), the agency chose not to allow Sagan and his colleagues to include a photograph of a nude man and woman on the record. Instead, only a silhouette of the couple was included.

The pulsar map and hydrogen molecule diagram are shared in common with the Pioneer plaque.

The 116 images are encoded in analogue form and composed of 512 vertical lines. The remainder of the record is audio, designed to be played at 16⅔ revolutions per minute.

 

Here is the list of all the pictures in the Golden Record:

 

Contents of the Voyager Golden Record – Wikipedia

The earth`s golden record

This is the “Golden Record” which is attached to both Voyager 1 & 2. It is a time capsule of sorts, intended to communicate the story of our species and our home planet to extraterrestrials. A similar plaque was attached to Voyagers predecessors; Pioneer 10 and 11, but the golden record contains a much more whole and ambitious message. The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record, a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth.

The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a panel chaired by none other than Dr.Carl Sagan. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals. To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from humans spoken in fifty-five languages.

The record, like the plaques on Pioneer 10 and 11, also contains information about our Solar Systems location in the form of Sagans “pulsar map” which shows the position of our sun utilising 14 pulsars of known directions. A binary code defines the frequency of the pulses.

Also included is a diagram which illustrates the lowest states of the hydrogen atom (Hydrogen being the most abundant gas). The vertical lines with the dots indicate the spin of the proton and the electron.

Both the Voyager spacecrafts have left our solar system since 1990 and now they find themselves in empty space. It will be forty thousand years before they make a close approach to any other planetary system.

The likelihood of anyone finding this token, and understanding it is slim- but the idea behind it is lovely and is summed up well in President Jimmy Carter’s message on the record:

“We cast this message into the cosmos… If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message: We are trying to survive our time so we may live into yours… This record represents our hope and our determination and our goodwill in a vast and awesome universe.”

A true “Earth Story”. I hope you enjoy the idea as much as I do.

-Jean

Image courtesy of NASA.

Many other pieces of information, including a diagram of the naked human form; both male and female, appear on the Golden Record, but I have not went into detail, this website is amazing and goes through everything: http://goldenrecord.org/