|MadSci Network: Astronomy|
Chris, The Voyager spacecraft are currently 6.1 and 7.7 billion miles from the Sun, far beyond the orbit of Neptune. The farther a spacecraft is from Earth, the weaker the signal that radio telescopes on Earth can pick up. Currently, Voyager personnel have to use the 70 meter (>230 feet) Deep Space Network (DSN) telescopes to collect the data that Voyager continues to send to Earth. In fact, the original DSN telescopes were 64 meters but were expanded to 70 meters to support the Voyager mission in the mid 1980s. A smaller telescope, such as what an amateur would commonly build, cannot collect enough of the signal to receive data from either Voyager 1 or 2. The Voyager home page is http://vraptor.jpl.nasa.gov/voyager/voyager.html A tutorial about the Deep Space Network can be found at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/basics/bsf18-1.html Erika
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Astronomy.