The Voyager Encounters
A fascinating tour of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — conducted by instruments onboard the Voyager spacecraft. Patrick Stewart narrates the story.
From 1979 to 1989 the Voyager 1 and 2 missions explored the wonders of the outer solar system. The Voyager Encounters is the definitive summary of results returned by the two spacecraft. It recaps the flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in one convenient, thorough documentary.
The show begins with an historical look at Galileo Galilei’s observations of the planets Jupiter and Saturn, progressing through three centuries of ground-based studies of the outer planets. The show then introduces the two Voyager spacecraft and describes their trajectories and instrument packages.
Voyager’s cameras provided rare and visually stunning views of the worlds of the outer solar system, plus invaluable information about the chemical makeup of each planet’s atmosphere, internal structure, magnetic fields, rings, and moons. Voyager’s planetary odysseys began at Jupiter, an impressionistic study in cloudy turbulence, sporting a Great Red Spot and a collection of moons — among them volcanic Io.
Next was Saturn, with its ten thousand glittering rings, cloud-shrouded Titan, and a flock of smaller icy moons. That was followed by bland-looking Uranus, a planet that rolls around the Sun on its side. It boasts a set of dark rings and its own collection of icy worlds.
Voyager’s close flyby of Neptune showed storms in its upper atmosphere, and revealed the mottled surface of the unusual moon Triton. The show ends with these hardy space voyagers leaving the solar system — each serving as Earth’s ambassador to a far future rendezvous in distant star systems.
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