Saturn

Launch

Arrival

Type

Name

Details

1610

 

 

Earth based

Galileo

First person to describe rings, though he referred to them as handles and was unable to determine their nature.

1678

 

 

Earth based

Cassini

Discovers division in rings

1973

 

 

Earth based

Radar astronomy

Ring system seen to contain fragments averaging 1 metre in diameter

1988

 

 

Earth based

Analysis

Analysis of Voyager data shows standing waves in atmosphere around Saturn’s polar region.

1979

5 April 1973

1 September 1979

Flyby

Pioneer 11

Saturn’s magnetosphere found to be weaker than expected

1980

5 September 1977

12 November 1980

Flyby

Voyager 1

See below under Voyager 2

1981

20 August 1977

25 August 1981

Flyby

Voyager 2

Both Voyagers found the rings to be more complex than previously thought with many grooves and gaps.

1997

October

 4 December 2004

Orbiter / Lander

Cassini

Launched in 1997 to arrive July 2004 Casssini will deliver a Lander “Hyugens” to Titan in the December.

 

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