Harvard University

Astronomy Lab and Clay Telescope


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Jupiter and the Galilean Moons

The overall goal of this lab is to understand how Jupiter's moons appear to move in our sky. We will observe how Jupiter moves relative to background stars from night to night, and how its moon Io, one of the 4 bright moons of Jupiter discovered 400y ago by Galileo with his first astronomical telescope, moves relative to Jupiter. Our observations of the beautiful planet Jupiter allow us to easily see (night to night) the changing position of the 4 moons and to measure the back and forth motion of Io. From this we shall "derive" (or verify) Kepler's 3rd Law which relates the radius to the period of an object (Io) in a circular orbit about another (Jupiter), and measure Jupiter's mass.


Reductions and Analysis: