By David M. Harland
While pacecraft flew during the Saturian procedure within the years 1979, 1980 and 1981, the implications have been astronishing. The satellits have been eventually proven to be miniature worlds in there personal correct.
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M. Goldstein of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory used the large spacecraft communications antenna at Goldstone in California as a radar to characterise the surfaces of the Moon, Mars and Venus. F. Lyot made this drawing of Saturn's ring system using the Pic du Midi Observatory's 24-inch refractor during `perfect' seeing using a high magnification and a micrometer to measure the fine detail. Although his contemporaries dismissed such fine structure as illusory, the Voyager missions spectacularly proved him correct.
It had been noted by Guiseppe Campani in 1664, Robert Hooke in 1666, Jean Picard on 15 June 1673 and John Hadley in the spring of 1720. William Herschel appears to have glimpsed it in the ansae, but not realised its significance. G. Galle at the Berlin Observatory noted its presence in the ansae on 10 June 1838 as a veil-like extension of the main system across half of the dark space towards the planet, but he had not seen its shadow on the planet, and in any case Galle's report to the Berlin Academy of Sciences produced few comments from his contemporaries.
Laplace, who had proposed that it is a multiplicity of extremely thin ringlets. During a lengthy study of the system under a range of illuminations, William Herschel found little supporting evidence. In fact, his only suspicion of fine structure was reported five years before Laplace advanced his theory: on four nights in 1780, when the rings were wide open and he could trace them all the way around he had noted in his log that he had perceived a division on the inner (`B') ring. A. Quetelet, director of the Brussels Observatory, reported seeing a very fine line divide the `A' ring when using a 10-inch refractor in Paris in December 1823.