New Planets Discovered Like Earth

Until 2004, no spacecraft had visited Saturn for more than twenty years. Pioneer 11 took the very first close-up images of Saturn when it flew past in 1979. After that flyby, Voyager 1 had its rendezvous about a year later, and in August 1981 Voyager 2 had its brief, but glorious, encounter. Nearly a quarter of a century then passed before new high-resolution images of this beautiful, ringed planet were beamed back to Earth. The very productive Cassini mission might attain some indirect information by analyzing the ring arc material--however, it is unlikely to come close to the little moon again before the mission ends in 2017. A Lunar Eclipse is when our blue/green globe saunters between the trusty moon and glowing sun, our planet completely blocks the luminous rays of the sun but the moon remains visible.