Skip Navigation: Avoid going through Home page links and jump straight to content

JPL Comet Shoemaker-Levy Educators Guide


Voyager 2

The Voyager 2 spacecraft is now far beyond Neptune (its last object of study back in 1989 after visiting Jupiter in 1979, Saturn in 1981, and Uranus in 1986) and is about 6.4 billionJ m from the Sun. It can look directly back at the dark side of Jupiter, but the whole of Jupiter is now only two picture elements in diameter as seen by its high-resolution camera, if that instrument were to be used. In fact the camera has been shut down for several years, and the engineers who knew how to control it have new jobs or are retired. It would be very expensive to take the camera "out of mothballs" and probably of limited scientific value. Voyager does have an ultraviolet spectrometer which is still taking data, and it will probably be used to acquire ultraviolet light curves (brightness versus time) of the impact phenomena. The possibility of using one or two other instruments is being considered, though useful results from them seem less likely.

This was exerpted from the JPL Shoemaker-Levy Educators Guide. To see the entire guide, click here.

clrbar.gif jpl.xbm