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Jupiter and its Moons


Each of the planets in the Solar System has interesting and unique features. With telescope observations, we can learn a lot about their surface, size and composition. However, every astronomical observation needs to be planned carefully: We need to know when our target will be observable and where in the sky we have to point our telescope. We also need to think about our observation strategy (how many images we need, how separated in time they must be, etc.).

In this laboratory, students will plan an observation and take images of the biggest and most massive of the planets in the Solar System, Jupiter, and its four biggest moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Calisto). Based on measurements of the motion of the moons in the images, they will calculate their orbital periods, and finally derive the mass of Jupiter.



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