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Did you know you can use an inexpensive webcam to capture images of planets and other objects in the night sky?

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A Light Year

Several probes have
visited Saturn and
more missions are planned.

Saturn Probes

Cassini is one of the most successful space probe missions in history. The craft has been orbiting Saturn for years capturing images and analyzing it' s atmosphere, rings, and moons.

Cassini completed its initial four-year mission to explore the Saturn System in June 2008. Now, the healthy spacecraft is working overtime on the Cassini Equinox Mission, seeking answer to new questions raised in Cassini’s first years at Saturn.

Cassini's looping, elliptical path around Saturn allows for visits to the Ringed Planet's many moons. All flybys provide an opportunity to learn more about Saturn's icy satellites, and some of the close encounters -- mostly with giant Titan -- are actually used to navigate the spacecraft, changing its orbit or setting up future flybys.

Visit the official Cassini web site.

Pioneer 11

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.

Before reaching Saturn in 1979, Pioneer 11 reached an inclination of 17 degrees above the solar equatorial plane, high enough to illuminate the true character of the sun's magnetic field. Now 780 million miles above the ecliptic plane where most of the planets orbit the sun, the spacecraft recently showed that many of the solar cosmic rays in the heliosphere originate outside the Sun's atmosphere in the interstellar gas, the space between the stars.

Voyager 1 and 2

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 flew past Jupiter in March and July 1979, respectively. These craft carried more sensitive instruments than did the Pioneers, and transmitted much more information. Astronomers used photographs taken by the Voyagers to make the first detailed maps of the Galilean satellites. The Voyagers also revealed sulfur volcanoes on Io, discovered lightning in Jupiter's clouds, and mapped flow patterns in the cloud bands.

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