Voyager 2 Trajectory through the Solar System

  • Released Thursday, August 31, 2017

This visualization tracks the trajectory of the Voyager 2 spacecraft through the solar system. Launched on August 20, 1977, it was one of two spacecraft sent to visit the giant planets of the outer solar system. Like Voyager 1, Voyager 2 flew by Jupiter and Saturn, but the Voyager 2 mission was extended to fly by Uranus and Neptune before being directed out of the solar system.

To fit the 40 year history of the mission into a short visualization, the pacing of time accelerates through most of the movie, starting at about 5 days per second at the beginning and speeding up to about 11 months per second after the planet flybys are past.

The termination shock and heliopause are the 'boundaries' created when the plasma between the stars interacts with the plasma flowing outward from the Sun. They are represented with simple grid models and oriented so their 'nose' is pointed in the direction (Right Ascension = 17h 24m, declination = 17 degrees south) represented by more recent measurements from other missions.


Check out Voyager at NASA/JPL for more information.

Opening view of Earth orbit looking outward to the rest of the solar system.

Opening view of Earth orbit looking outward to the rest of the solar system.

Voyager 2 (and 1) cross the orbit of Mars, slightly above the ecliptic plane to avoid the asteroid belt between Mars & Jupiter.

Voyager 2 (and 1) cross the orbit of Mars, slightly above the ecliptic plane to avoid the asteroid belt between Mars & Jupiter.

The camera moves out ahead of the Voyagers for a view back at the inner solar system.

The camera moves out ahead of the Voyagers for a view back at the inner solar system.

Voyager 2 just after the Jupiter flyby on July 9, 1979.

Voyager 2 just after the Jupiter flyby on July 9, 1979.

Voyager 2 just after the Saturn flyby on August 26, 1981.

Voyager 2 just after the Saturn flyby on August 26, 1981.

Voyager 2 just before the Uranus flyby on January 24, 1986.

Voyager 2 just before the Uranus flyby on January 24, 1986.

Voyager 2 just after the Neptune flyby on August 25, 1989.

Voyager 2 just after the Neptune flyby on August 25, 1989.

Using Neptune for a gravity-assist, Voyager 2 is directed below the plane of the solar system and continues outward.

Using Neptune for a gravity-assist, Voyager 2 is directed below the plane of the solar system and continues outward.

Voyager 2 crosses the termination shock around May of 2006.

Voyager 2 crosses the termination shock around May of 2006.



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Release date

This page was originally published on Thursday, August 31, 2017.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 12:05 AM EST.


Missions

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