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Voyager 2: More puzzles, more applause

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Abstract

Kinked rings, a hamburger-shaped satellite, and swirling equatorial,storms on Saturn added up to a Voyager 2 encounter dubbed ‘a 200% success’ by project scientist Edward C. Stone. Despite problems with the spacecraft's scan platform, the mission sent scientists scurrying back to their laboratories to sort through a plethora of data, including more than 17,000 photographs, which streamed back to earth from more than a billion miles away. Some early findings, such as the absence of tiny moonlets embedded in the rings, perplexed Voyager scientists; other discoveries, such as detailed information provided by the photopolarimeter on the ring structure, incited wild celebration. Detailed analysis will take months and, for some experiments, years. Here are some preliminary results from Voyager 2's Saturn encounter.