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Voyagers (1970s). 1800 lbs, dish >12 ft diameter data rates ~115,000 bits/sec (twice dial-up!) Radioisotope Power Generators. Moons. (Covered in the video…). Io. Europa. Ganymede. Callisto. Galileo Mission (1989-2003). First detection of ammonia in the clouds of Jupiter

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Voyagers 1970s
Voyagers (1970s)

  • 1800 lbs, dish >12 ft diameter

  • data rates ~115,000 bits/sec (twice dial-up!)

  • Radioisotope Power Generators


(Covered in the video…)





Galileo mission 1989 2003
Galileo Mission (1989-2003)

  • First detection of ammonia in the clouds of Jupiter

  • Imaged impact by comet Shoemaker-Levy in 1994

  • Found it likely that there is a 100-km deep ocean under the ice of Europa

  • Studied thunderstorms

  • On the way, discovered asteroid Ida has a moon


Now: In retrograde, rises in ENE at about 10pm and is 60 degrees up at dawn [Fall 2005]


  • Within Roche Limit (3 body problem…)

  • < 2km thick

  • dust to boulders+

Cassini huygens 1997
Cassini / Huygens (1997 - ?)

Cassini still orbiting Saturn, Huygens probe landed on its moon, Titan, last January

Many discoveries, nicely listed in this top-10 list

Huygens probe will be dropped onto titan
…Huygens probe will be dropped onto Titan

  • What will happen?

  • Science News Article, posted


  • In Aquarius, magnitude 5.7


8th magnitude, in Capricornus

Neptune s moons
Neptune’s Moons

  • Giant Triton orbits retrograde, spiraling toward Roche’s limit in 10 – 100 million years

  • Nereid smaller with prograde but very eccentric orbit


  • Very faint (15th magnitude)

  • discovered with 13-inch telescope using at Lowell by Clyde Tombaugh, by examining plates with a blink comparator

  • Orbit within Neptune’s at times (’80-99)

Pluto and charon
Pluto and Charon

  • One synchronous satellite, discovered in 1978

New horizons mission
New Horizons Mission

  • Launch January, 2006

  • Swing by Jupiter in 2007

  • Pass by Pluto/Charon 2015, ASAP, before atmosphere freezes out.

  • Kuiper belt by 2026

Farther out short period comets come from the kuiper belt
Farther out: Short-period comets come from the Kuiper belt

  • P<200 years

  • Extends from Neptune’s orbit out to about 1000 AU

  • Short-period comets are KB objects perturbed toward the sun by the giant planets.

Farther out oort cloud
Farther out: Oort Cloud

In 1950 Jan Oort noticed that:

  • no comet has been observed with an orbit that indicates that it came from interstellar space,

  • there is a strong tendency for aphelia of long period comet orbits to lie at a distance of about 50,000 AU, and

  • there is no preferential direction from which comets come.

  • Thus….

Long period comets perturbed in from oort cloud
Long-period Comets perturbed in from Oort Cloud

Speaking of comets…