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Voyager 2 at Neptune: I Beyond Imagination

"Our imaginations always fall short of anticipating the beauty we will find in nature." Planetary geologist Laurence A. Soderblom. 1989

On course, on time, all instruments operating. At 8:56 p.m Pacific daylight time on August 24, 1989, Voyager 2 passed Neptune only 3,050 miles (4,900 kilometers) above the clouds near its north pole—by far its closest approach to any of the 60 bodies it visited during its 12-year journey. The spacecraft was traveling 61,110 miles per hour (98,350 kilometers per hour). Just as planned, the gravity of the giant planet bent Voyager's path southward toward Neptune's largest moon, Triton. Five hours later, at 2:10 A.M. PET on August 25, Voyager made the final close encounter of its epic journey as it passed Triton at a distance of 24,720 miles (39,790 kilometers).1

Voyager 2's flight by Neptune and Triton told scientists more about these worlds than they had learned in the century and a half since their discovery. Three previous planetary encounters by Voyager 2 had warned scientists to expect surprises, but no one was prepared for what Neptune and Triton had to offer.

Voyager 2 at Neptune: Beyond Imagination

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