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Voyager 1 sees Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

5 March 2017 Astronomy Now

On 5 March 1979, Voyager 1 made its closest approach to Jupiter, passing at a distance of about 349,000 kilometres (217,000 miles) from the planet’s centre. It captured this close-up view of the swirling clouds around Jupiter’s Great Red Spot in February as it approached the gas giant.

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NASA’s IBEX observations pin down interstellar magnetic field

28 February 2016 Astronomy Now

Immediately after its 2008 launch, NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, spotted a curiosity in a thin slice of space: More particles streamed in through a long, skinny swath in the sky than anywhere else. The origin of the so-called IBEX ribbon was unknown — but its very existence opened doors to observing what lies outside our solar system.

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Taking Titan’s temperature 2004-2016

23 February 2016 Astronomy Now

Based on measurements made by the Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) instrument on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, scientists have produced a sequence of maps showing the varying surface temperatures on Saturn’s moon Titan at two-year intervals, from 2004 to 2016.

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Thirtieth anniversary of Voyager 2’s encounter with Uranus

24 January 2016 Astronomy Now

Humanity has visited Uranus only once, and that was exactly 30 years ago. NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft got its closest look at the mysterious, distant, gaseous planet on 24 January 1986. The probe sent back stunning images of the coldest planet known in our solar system and its moons during the flyby, which allowed for about 5½ hours of close study.