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June 2, 2014 - Big Blue Giant

Big Blue Giant  Twenty-five years ago this week, the Voyager 2 spacecraft was close enough (117 million km, or 73 million mi) to Neptune to begin regularly monitoring activity in Neptune’s atmosphere. This observatory phase was significant because it marked the beginning of Voyager 2’s final planetary port of call after a twelve-year voyage through the outer solar system. As it approached Neptune, Voyager 2 returned increasingly higher resolution images of Neptune’s Great Dark Spot and a smaller white feature known as Scooter, shown here from only 7 million km (4.4 million mi) away. Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 visited Jupiter in 1979, Saturn in 1981, and Uranus in 1986. Voyager 2 and its sibling, Voyager 1, are now near the edge of interstellar space and are still in contact with Earth.

Image credit: NASA / JPL

Weekly Calendar

June 2-8, 2014

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 2

1930: Charles “Pete” Conrad born
1966: Surveyor 1 lands on Moon
1970: First glide test of M2-F3 lifting body
1998: STS-91 Discovery launched
2003: Mars Express / Beagle 2 launched

Moon phase Tuesday 3

Moon at apogee

1948: 200-inch Hale telescope dedicated
1965
: Gemini IV launched; Ed White takes America’s first space walk
1966
: Gemini IX launched

Moon phase Wednesday 4

1971: Last X-24A lifting body flight
1974: Construction begins on space shuttle Enterprise
2000: Compton Gamma Ray Observatory reenters atmosphere

Moon phase Thursday 5

First Qtr Moon 4:39 PM ET

1819: John Couch Adams born
1989: Voyager 2 begins regular observations of Neptune
1991: STS-40 Columbia launched
2002: STS-111 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Friday 6

1932: Dave Scott born
1971: Soyuz 11 launched, first crew to occupy Salyut 1 space station
1983: Venera 16 launched

Moon phase Saturday 7

Ceres appears stationary
Mars 1.6° north of Moon
Mercury appears stationary

1992: Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer launched
2011Soyuz TMA-02M launched carrying ISS Expedition 28/29 crew

Moon phase Sunday 8

Whit Sunday—Pentecost

1625: Giovanni Cassini born
1959: First X-15 unpowered glide test
1975: Venera 9 launched
2007: STS-117 Atlantis launched

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.