A Solar System Portrait
Credit: Voyager 1 Team, NASA
Explanation: As the Voyager 1 spacecraft headed out of our
Solar System, it looked back and took a parting family portrait
of the Sun and planets. From beyond Pluto, our Solar System
looks like a bright star surrounded by faint dots.
In the above picture, the Sun is so bright it is blocked out
for contrast. The innermost dots visible, labeled E and V for
Earth and Venus, are particularly hard to discern. Gas giants
Jupiter (J) and Saturn (S) are much more noticeable. The
outermost planets visible are Uranus (U) and Neptune (N).
Each planet is shown labeled and digitally enhanced in an
inset image. Voyager 1 is only one of four human-made objects
to leave our Solar System, the other three being Voyager 2,
and Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11.
Tomorrow's picture: Liberty Bell 7
Also see this image and comment on the Pale Blue Dot we
Today is also the thirty-eighth anniversary of the first
American sub-orbital manned space flight, conducted by
astronaut Alan B. Shepard aboard Freedom 7, also known
as Mercury-Redstone 3. Sadly, this will be the first
anniversary of the historic event without Shepard.