|Jupiter with the great red spot shot from Voyager 1|
Two weeks after the launch of Vojager 2, the twin Voyager 1 probe was launched on September 5, 1977. However, Voyager 1 would reach both Jupiter and Saturn sooner, as Voyager 2 had been launched into a longer, more circular trajectory through the Solar System.
The closest approach to Jupiter occurred on July 9, 1979. It came within 570,000 km of the planet's cloud tops and discovered a few rings around Jupiter, as well as volcanic activity on Io, one of the moons. The Great Red Spot, a prominent oval-shaped feature in the southern hemisphere of Jupiter already observed with telescopes in the 17th century, was revealed as a complex storm moving in a counterclockwise direction. Discovery of active volcanism on Io was easily the greatest unexpected discovery at Jupiter. It was the first time active volcanoes had been seen on another body in the Solar System.
|Europa, as seen by the Galileo spacecraft|
As of February 8, 2012, Voyager 2, traveling at 15.447 km/s relative to the Sun, is about 98.358 astronomical units away from the Earth. It is still transmitting scientific data at about 160 bits per second and will continue transmitting weak radio messages until at least 2025, over 48 years since it was launched.
At yovisto you might learn more about the Voyager space program and the discovery of ouer outer solar system in a NASA special space science presentation on 'Voyager - Humanity's Farthest Journey'