The Voyager Encounters logo
Patrick's pic

Narrated by Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard
of Star Trek movies and TV

The Voyager Encounters

The Voyagers opened a new frontier — the worlds of the outer solar system!

The Voyager Encounters is a fascinating tour of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — conducted by the cameras and instruments onboard the Voyager spacecraft.

From 1979 to 1989 the Voyager 1 and 2 missions explored the wonders of the outer solar system. The Voyager Encounters is the definitive summary of results returned by the two spacecraft. It recaps the flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in one convenient, thorough documentary.

Galileo's verandaThe show begins with an historical look at Galileo Galilei's observations of the planets Jupiter and Saturn, progressing through three centuries of ground-based studies of the outer planets. The show then introduces the two Voyager spacecraft and describes their trajectories and instrument packages.

Io surfaceVoyager's cameras provided rare and visually stunning views of the worlds of the outer solar system, plus invaluable information about the chemical makeup of each planet's atmosphere, internal structure, magnetic fields, rings, and moons. Voyager's planetary odysseys began at Jupiter, an impressionistic study in cloudy turbulence, sporting a Great Red Spot and a collection of moons — among them volcanic Io.

Saturn ringsNext was Saturn, with its ten thousand glittering rings, cloud-shrouded Titan, and a flock of smaller icy moons. That was followed by bland-looking Uranus, a planet that rolls around the Sun on its side. It boasts a set of dark rings and its own collection of icy worlds.

Jupiter/Neptune spotsVoyager's close flyby of Neptune showed storms in its upper atmosphere, and revealed the mottled surface of the unusual moon Triton. The show ends with these hardy space voyagers leaving the solar system — each serving as Earth's ambassador to a far future rendezvous in distant star systems.

Along with its sister planetary shows MAGELLAN: Report From Venus and MarsQuest, The Voyager Encounters is an excellent way to present the wonders of the solar system to audiences.

The Voyager Encounters - Saturn rings pan

Running time: 42:52
Age level: General public
Year of production: 1989
Narrated by Patrick Stewart
Words expertly crafted by Carolyn Collins Petersen
Stereo soundtrack with original music by Geodesium

Jupiter cutaway artworkThe educational focus of The Voyager Encounters is to present the discoveries made by the Voyager spacecraft at the gas giant planets, their moons, and ring systems. The show uses a set of multi-disciplinary themes in physical sciences, Earth and space sciences, and history of science. These ideas are woven together with images and help relate the information presented in the show to the lives of students, families, and the general public.

Show content is relevant in the following subject areas:

Earth and Space Sciences/Physical Sciences:
  • Orbital motions of the outer planets, moons, rings
  • Characteristics of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
  • Properties of planetary atmospheres, moons, rings, magnetic fields
  • Processes of change in the outer solar system

History of Science/Science Inquiry/Technology:
  • History of telescopic exploration of the outer planets
  • Galileo's 17th-century planetary observations
  • Modern ground-based observations
  • Orbital trajectories and spacecraft instrumentation for planetary exploration
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