Monday, 2 January 2012

Charts for spacecarft destined to leave the solar system

The following posts provide astrological star charts (free ones via the web) for the space craft which are destined to leave the solar system (Voyager V1 and 2, Pioneer P10 and 11 and New Horizons, NH)

This is part of a wider project (link not available) on Voyager 1 and the Golden Record.

Current data on these probes are available via the Heavens Above website.

I've called this blog "Astro Illogical" since on the face of it star charts for things that leave our sun's sphere of influence are non-sensical. But perhaps others can provide another interpretation.

They are compiled here because I think its interesting to reflect on these probes which are all expected to leave the sphere of influence of our solar system. The astrological charts provide information on the influence the solar system had on the craft when they were launched. Unlike people, for whom star charts are routinely complied, these objects are leaving the solar system.

I don't know whether astrologists would argue that the influence of the stars is decreasing as the probes make their way out of our solar system. I'm interested in the poetry of such objects so far from earth, but made here, and their destiny amongst the stars.

As of 2/1/2012 (January) the positions of these 5 craft were as follows:

Or numerically:

Pioneer 10 Pioneer 11 Voyager 2 Voyager 1 New Horizons
Distance from Sun (AU) 104.938 84.77 97.334 119.339 22.08
Speed relative to Sun (km/s) 12.048 11.393 15.449 17.051 15.52
Speed relative to Sun (AU/year) 2.542 2.403 3.259 3.597 3.274
Ecliptic Latitude 3.0° 14.3° -33.9° 35.0° 1.8°
Declination (J2000) 25.90° -8.88° -55.28° 11.92° -21.33°
Right Ascension (J2000) 5.106 hrs 18.734 hrs 19.843 hrs 17.173 hrs 18.715 hrs
Constellation Tau Sct Tel Oph Sgr
Distance from Earth (AU) 104.041 85.723 98.147 120.058 23.062
One-way light time (hours) 14.42 11.88 13.6 16.64 3.2
Magnitude of Sun from spacecraft -16.6 -17.1 -16.8 -16.3 -20
Spacecraft still functioning ? No No Yes Yes Yes
Launch date 03/03/72 04/06/73 08/20/77 09/05/77 01/19/06

Note: the two Pioneer craft's launch times were given in UTC time. I have converted this to local time by adding 5 hours to the reported launch time (UTC=GMT). I hope this is right. If you know otherwise, please let me know.

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