Whoa. It’s been 30 years since our 1st and last visit to Neptune

earthsky.org | 8/25/2019 | Deborah Byrd
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Click For Photo: https://en.es-static.us/upl/2019/08/neptune-voyager2-8-25-1989-300x300.jpg

Voyager 2 acquired this image fewer than 5 days before its closest approach to Neptune on August 25, 1989. You can see Neptune’s Great Dark Spot – a storm in its atmosphere – and the bright, light-blue smudge of clouds that accompanies the storm. Read more about this image via NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Reprinted from NASA.

Years - August - NASA - Voyager - Spacecraft

Thirty years ago, on August 25, 1989, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft made a close flyby of Neptune, giving humanity its first close-up of our solar system’s eighth planet. Marking the end of the Voyager mission’s Grand Tour of the solar system’s four giant planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – that first was also a last: No other spacecraft has visited Neptune since. Ed Stone, a professor of physics at Caltech and Voyager’s project scientist since 1975, said:

The Voyager planetary program really was an opportunity to show the public what science is all about. Every day we learned something new.

Bands - Clouds - Planet - Voyager - Sibling

Wrapped in teal- and cobalt-colored bands of clouds, the planet that Voyager 2 revealed looked like a blue-hued sibling to Jupiter and Saturn, the blue indicating the presence of methane. A massive, slate-colored storm was dubbed the Great Dark Spot, similar to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. Six new moons and four rings were discovered.

Voyager 2 took these 2 images of the rings of Neptune on August 26, 1989, just after closest approach. Neptune’s 2 main rings are clearly visible; 2 fainter rings are visible with the help of long exposure times and backlighting from the sun. Read more about this image via NASA PhotoJournal.

Encounter - Engineering - Team - Probe - Direction

During the encounter, the engineering team carefully changed the probe’s direction and speed so that it could do a close flyby of the planet’s largest moon, Triton. The flyby showed evidence of geologically young surfaces and active geysers spewing material skyward. This indicated that Triton...
(Excerpt) Read more at: earthsky.org
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