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Pioneer 11 Images of Saturn


Launched in 1973, Pioneer 11 first flew by Jupter in 1974 before encountering Saturn. Pioneer 11 made its closest approach to Saturn on September 1, 1979 at a distance of 20,900 km. Below are the best Pioneer 11 images of Saturn.

The moon Rhea appears at the 4 o'clock position relative to Saturn. This image was enhanced to show cloud belts on the planet and to improve the visibility of the rings. This image was taken August 26, 1979 at a distance of 5.7 million km. (Pioneer Image F-81E).

This image was taken on August 31, 1979 from a distance of 1.25 million km. (Pioneer Image F-16).

This image of Saturn's rings was taken on September 1, 1979 from a distance of 941,000 km. The F Ring, which was discovered by Pioneer 11, is visible in this image. (Pioneer Image F-12E).

This image was taken on September 1, 1979 from a distance of 400,000 km. The edge of the disk can clearly be seen through the Cassini Division and C ring. The Keeler Gap can also be seen faintly silhouetted against the planet.


This image was taken by Pioneer 11 on September 1, 1979 from a distance of 505,000 km. (Pioneer Image F-7).

These images were taken on September 1, 1979 from a distance of 335,000 km. The top image is color composite image of the two lower images. The image in the lower left was taken with the blue channel, the other image in the red channel. (Pioneer Image G-4).

This image was taken September 3, 1979 after Pioneer 11 had flown by Saturn. The spacecraft was 2.15 million km from Saturn when this image was taken. (Pioneer Image G-21).

This is an intensity synthesis of two Pioneer 11 images as viewed from the north pole of Saturn on September 1, 1979.

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Ron Baalke