Adapted from THE LEARN'D ASTRONOMERS Natural Systems 1 student generated lab, 2001 (in partial fullfillment of course requirements).

This topic submitted by Austin Kleon, Ryan Lazowski, Laura Englehart, Miguel Padilla (,,, at 8:21 pm on 12/6/01. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Dr. Hays Cummins

Western Program, Miami University

Welcome! I guess you could say that 136961 Jupiter Watchers stopped by. Enjoy!

When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer

When I heard the learn’d astronomer;

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;

When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;

When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;

Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

- Walt Whitman

(From Kepler's Laws With Animation)


Why not Listen to "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity" performed by the Philharmonica Orchestra while you look at our lab?

This lab is all about understanding Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion. It includes the observation and measurement of Jupiter and its moons' orbits and the usage of these measurements to find orbital distance from Jupiter, orbital period of each moon, and Jupiter's mass. It was adapted from a research project completed by an Natural Systems group in 2001. We spent many hard ours working out a method so that other classes would be able to follow. This lab is significally important to science students, because Kepler's Laws of Planetary Movement are fundamental to astronomy, as they explain how the whole system moves and works, and they are still used today (see our information on relevence to finding mass and black holes below!). This lab is set up to be expanded upon by other groups.

The purpose of this lab is to use Kepler's Third law to find the mass of Jupiter by observing the four major moons of Jupiter (Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto). You will be using the data from using the telescope to help you determine orbital distance for each moon, orbital period for each moon, and the mass of Jupiter based on these calculation. This lab will helped you understand astronomy in a very significant way. The topic of heavenly bodies is an intriguing one. This lab shows relevence to today's science work by including Newton's reworking of Kepler's law to figure out masses of planets and black holes. In the process of executing the lab you will gain knowledge and experience of using the telescope and observing the planets. Executing the lab is an exercise of the scientific method, including: background research, hypothesis & predictions, methods & materials, data collection, data interpretation and conclusions.>



To understand Kepler and his ideas, one must know the history behind astronomy. It all starts with Ptolemy, who believed that the earth was in the center of a perfect divine universe and all the planets and the sun all formed in circles around it. Science back in those days was greatly influenced by religion, as no one in their right mind would go up against the church's teaching and say that the whole universe didn't really revolve around the Earth, the center of God's creation. When Copernicus came along, he asserted his idea that the sun was at the center of the universe (called the Heliocentric Model), quite controversial then, but now taken for granted. This is why until such pioneers as Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo, astronomy didn't take off in leaps and bounds. Their contribution is so important to our understanding of our world today. (Pribble et. al, 1998). The rest of the history of Kepler's Three Laws can be divided into the contributions of four men: Brahe, Galileo, Kepler himself, and Newton.



Tycho Brahe was a Danish astronomer who lived from 1546 to 1601. Much of the funding for his work came from royal patronage; King Frederick of Denmark was one his most famous and wealthy sponsors, beginning in 1575. King Frederick provided Brahe his own research site, located on the island of Hven off the Danish coast. There Tycho and his assistants produced many precise instruments, including the Uraniborg Press, one of the world's first printing presses. These accomplishments pleased both Brahe and his sponsor: the latter wanted recognition and fame for sponsoring a scientific genius; the latter was achieving his goal of blending "fine arts, technology and science" in his research institution. This was one of Brahe's accomplishments: he made scientific investigation an interdisciplinary process, the products of which impressed people beyond only the scientific community. However, this new environment of scientific investigation created some problems for Brahe. There was much competition among scientists to make exciting discoveries and receive rewards from patrons. Plagiarism became more common, and the printing press allowed intellectual thieves to quickly lay false claims to another's work. Thus, Tycho was eager to publish one of his most famous works, a monograph on the comet of 1577. This document is of historical importance, for it established a precedent for the format and content of scientific publications. Brahe's document included such standards as: tables, diagrams, illustrations, a table of contents and chapters. Also important was a critical review of previously published literature on the subject. Unfortunately, although Brahe was systematic and thorough in procedure, he did not produce revolutionary thoughts or theories. In his flawed system explaining the laws of planetary motion, Brahe asserted that all the planets except the Earth revolved around the Sun; the Sun, in turn, revolved around the Earth. Later, Kepler, one of his research assistants on the island, would reinterpret the data and propose his famous laws of planetary motion. Brahe's data was so meticulous that it was invaluable to Kepler's theory (Christian, 2000).


Johannes Kepler was born in Weil der Stadt, Germany in 1571. He was educated at Maulbronn and the University of Tuebingen where he was in the Stift, a seminary for scholarship students. At Tubingen, Michael Maestlin taught Kepler astronomy using the Ptolemaic system in which the other planets revolved around the Earth. However, Michael Maestlin chose to also teach to a select group of students, including Kepler, about the new Copernican System in which all planets including Earth revolved around the Sun. Kepler quickly accepted the Copernican System because it had greater explanatory power than the Ptolemaic system. For instance, "the Copernican theory can explain why Venus and Mercury are never seen very far from the Sun (they lie between Earth and the Sun) whereas in the geocentric theory there is no explanation of this fact" (pg. 3, Groups). In 1594, he taught mathematics at the Lutheran Stiftschule in Graz. In Graz he was later given the job of district mathematician and calendar maker where he made 5 calendars and did astrological nativities and prognostications for lords. He married a wealthy widow named Barbara Mueller in 1597. He was forced to leave Graz in 1598 and worked for a few months for Tycho Brahe before returning shortly to Graz. In 1600 he was permanently banished from the city and went to work for Tycho Brahe in Prague where he eventually took Brahe’s position when he died. When Brahe died, Kepler had to battle his family in order to get ahold of Brahe's detailed measurements that he needed in order to form his theory. Brahe really didn't trust Kepler, and thought that Kepler would exceed him, so while he was alive he gave him information on Mars to keep him occupied. It was this information that would help him form his three laws of planetary motion, which will be explained below.

Works Cited:


Galileo began to study medicine at the University of Pisa in 1581. But instead of finishing a degree in medicine, Galileo became intrigued with and decided to pursue mathematics. He taught mathematics at Pisa from 1589-1592, and became the Chair of Mathematics at Padua in 1592. Galileo made his first telescope in 1609. Although he was not the first to invent the telescope, Galileo increased the magnification of the design, which allowed for his discovery of Jupiter's four satellites. Galileo began his work with the telescope by observing the moon and its spots. He concluded that the moon's surface has mountains and valleys and so is not a perfect sphere, as previously believed. After completing his observations of the moon, Galileo turned his attention to the next brightest object in the night sky, Jupiter. He observed three little stars surrounding the planet that he believed were fixed. Continual, in-depth observation proved that these little stars changed their position with respect to Jupiter and each other, but did not leave Jupiter. He also verified that there were four of these stars, not just three as initially observed. Eventually, Galileo concluded that they were not fixed stars, but rather were planetary bodies that orbited Jupiter. This helped to advance the Copernican argument against geocentricism because it added another example of a central body with satellites of orbit. Thus, the earth was proven not to be central to all with Galileo's discovery of the four Jupiter satellites. (Van Helden, 1995) Galileo's discoveries are the whole inspiration for this lab, as we will be doing the exact thing that he did: look at Jupiter and its satellites. Galileo is mind blowing because he made all of these discoveries with very primitive instruments -- we can hardly even find Jupiter with our own advanced telescope! Kepler's ideas gained exceptance through Galileo's work.

What the Jovian System looks like. (From Ed Stepan's Excellent Animation Web Page)

A Sketch of Galileo's! (From The Art of Renaissance Science)


Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) made so many discoveries relative to math and science: he revolutionized physics and astronomy, and invented calculus almost single handedly. Newton did so many things it would be pointless to try and explain them all. From the Astronomy 161: The Solar System website, the poet Alexander Pope is quoted: "Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night; God said, Let Newton be! and all was light". Certainly, our lab and Kepler's laws would be in the dark without Newton's contributions. Newton will be discussed in much length during the next section where we explain how Kepler's laws work. Kepler's laws actually influenced Newton's Three laws of motion and in turn, he proved Kepler's Third Law, which could never be done without his work with gravity. Kepler's laws explained planetary motion, but nothing about other motion, and really no one could properly explain why Kepler's laws even worked. So therefore, we move to....



Here we will attempt to illustrate Kepler's Three Laws and Newton's reworking of Kepler's Third law, based on his own three laws. The best way to understand Kepler's Three Laws of Planetary Motion is to observe the images that we have provided and pay attention to the description. Also, a great run-down and history of this information comes from the Astronomy 161: The Solar System website. Go there. It is very cool. Keep in mind, that with these models, we will substitute Jupiter for the sun, and one of the moons for the satellite or planet. Please bare with us:



1. All planets move in the shape of an ellipse with the sun at one focus.

In this example, x and y are the planet's position on the ellipse and a and b are the axis of the ellipse. It was once thought that the orbits of the planet's were perfect circles. You call the flatness of the ellipse the eccentricity. The actual orbits of planets are not this eccentric, as they are very close to perfect circles. When observing Jupiter, we will be looking at this ellipse sideways.

2. A line drawn from the planet to the sun sweeps out equal areas over equal time.

As the planet goes around the sun, the further away it is, the slower it rotates. This is due to gravitational attraction and is explained by Newton's concept of gravity, which we will examine shortly.

3. The square of a planet's period of revolution is proportional to the cube of the planet's mean distance from the sun.

Simplified, the formula looks like this:

T^2 = k(R^3)

where T = the period of revolution of a planet, k = constant, R= mean distance of planet from sun

For our purposes, we will apply this to the Jovian moons. Jupiter will be substituted for the sun, and the moons will be substituted for the earth. By translating to the Jovian system, however, we will have to come up with a suitable figure for k. This was found out the hard way by the old Keplerytes, and thanks to their suffering, we don't have to. A workable k can be found by plugging in a known mean distance and revolution of one of the moons, and solving.

To find R, we will have to take the maximum extreme measurements of the elliptical moon orbit from Jupiter (remember, when we are looking at Jupiter, the ellipse will be flat, check out the Jovian system animation above)...

R= (X1+X2)/2 where X=extreme measurements on both sides of Jupiter. Ideally we would measure out the moon's furthest distance from the left of Jupiter, and from the right, as it makes it around the planet. However, this is not always easy, so a maximum distance found for each moon from Jupiter will work well for this purpose. To find period, you will use this "R" plugged back into the equation above.

It is essential to note Newton's discoveries. His theory of gravity was the only thing to finally prove this Third Law.



1. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

2. The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma.

3. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.



from the Astronomy 161: The Solar System website (boy are we glad we found this:

For our purposes, R will be the distance between Jupiter and a Moon.

From the first law we can understand that planets are constantly in motion because objects move until a force is exerted on them. "In space there is no friction, so there is no force that is stopping the motion of the planets, that is why they are in indefinite motion" (Pribble et. al). The planets are kept in their orbits because of the gravitational force of the sun. As the planets move around their orbits, they move faster when they are closer to the sun, because of the greater gravitational force that being closer allots, this proves the second law of Kepler.

From his third law, Newton decided that the sun is not only stationary, it also orbits around a center of mass, and the planets revolve around the sun. Center of mass will not affect our work and calculations directly, so a firm understanding is not necessary. However, he made a great change in Kepler's law because of this:

M = Mass of system or (m1+m2)

G = universal gravitational constant = 6.67x10^-11 (m^3)/(kg*s^2)

R = mean distance from Jupiter (in meters)

T = orbital period (in sec.)

Here, m1 = the mass of jupiter, m2 = a moon, and R=distance between them. This will be the formula we will be using for our calculations. The maximum distance we find from our measurements will be R, and Twill be our observed period. From this we can actually find the mass of Jupiter from the moons, as we will show later. "k" is the value found within the parenthesis.

Hopefully this isn't too confusing (ha!) we will clear up all questions in our class participation session, and e-mail us if you want to know more! (This information was gathered from Jennings, the website Astronomy 161: The Solar System, and Pribble et al.)



One application of his third law is in the study of black holes. We will do these calculations in our class presentation. Imagine this scenario: through a telescope an astronomer observes a star that seems to be exhibiting rotational motion around some object. However, there is only darkness at the area around which the star rotates! One may predict a black hole exists in the central area of the rotation, whose gravitational force attracts the star and keeps it in orbit. Then one may want to estimate the mass contained in the black hole. A method of calculating an estimate is through the "Epsilon Aurigae" model. This model accounts for a star orbiting a black hole. The model's equation is below.


With: P= orbital period in years R= average distance between star and black hole, measured in astronomical units M= total mass of system, measured in solar masses

With a telescope, one may measure the star's orbital period and its average distance from the black hole. Inserting these values into the calculation above, one may estimate the amount of matter concentrated in the black hole! Since the relative size of the star compared to the black hole is very small, we can count the total mass of the system as really the total mass of the black hole.

We will also use this method to approximate the mass of Jupiter by observing the moons. Say we take the same measurements as above with our telescope, only we replace the black hole with Jupiter and the star with a moon. The moon is also relatively tiny compared to Jupiter, so we can discount its mass and estimate Jupiter's mass as the total mass of the system!! (Shipman, 1976).



KEPLER'S THIRD LAW (Modified with Newton's laws for mass calculation):

Mj = Mass of Jupiter

G = universal gravitational constant = 6.67x10^-11 (m^3)/(kg*s^2)

R = mean distance from Jupiter (in meters)

T = orbital period (in sec.)

Jupiter's mass is immense compared to the mass of its moons. The moons are only a tiny fraction of the planet's mass, therefore we can estimate that the total mass of the system is close to Jupiter's actual mass, and eliminate the moon's mass from the equation. We can now rearrange the equation to look like this:

This equation is easiest to use because you can convert micrometer units to kilometers and then meters to use within the equations.


Since we will be using the Jovian system for our lab, we need to know information about Jupiter and its moons.


Jupiter, often referred to as the "Giant Planet," is the largest planet in our solar system. It has a mass of 1.900*10^27 kg, a radius of 71,492 km, and a distance from the Sun that is more than five times greater than the Earth's distance from the Sun. Its greater distance from the Sun means that it revolves around the Sun once in about 12 Earth years. Also due to its distance, light, heat and other solar radiations that reach Jupiter's surface have 1/27 the intensity of those that reach the Earth's surface. Another interesting quality of Jupiter is the fact that the inclination of Jupiter's equator to the horizontal plane is small. Therefore, seasonal changes and effects are rarely observed.(Peek 1958).

The structure of Jupiter comprises two major parts. The easily observed gassy envelope that surrounds Jupiter, which contains mostly hydrogen and helium, contributes only about 95% of Jupiter's total volume. 95% of Jupiter's volume is in the core, which is composed mostly of heavy elements such as silicate. There are two common theories that explain the history of Jupiter's formation. In the core model, the core of Jupiter formed before the gassy ring did. Small bodies of matter randomly struck each other and stuck together, eventually coalescing into a definite core. The gravity exerted by this concentration of mass then attracted and condensed the ring of gas. In the gas model, the opposite process is postulated. Randomly interacting matter first formed the gas ring, which then attracted more matter to its center to create the core. (Morrison, 1982.)


Io is the closest moon to Jupiter. Its temperature is -143 degrees Celsius (-230 degrees Fahrenheit). However, it has a large hot spot that measures 17 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit). Its radius is 1821km. It is named after a story from Greek Mythology in which Zeus fell in love with Io. He changed himself into the shape of a dark cloud to hide from his wife Hera. But Hera found out and as soon as she came to them, Zeus transformed Io into a white cow to hide her. But Hera was not deceived, and she sent the cow to her hundred-eyed servant, Argus, to watch over her. Zeus's servant Mercury, was sent to defeat Argus by telling him stories until he closed every one of his hundred eyes. But Hera discovered that Io was free and plotted to kill her. Zeus had to promise to no longer pursue Io for Hera to release her and make her human again. Io then became the first queen of Egypt (Windows to the Universe, 1995-1997, 2000). The most significant thing to note about the moon Io is that it has active volcanoes. Tidal forces cause this volcanic action. Tidal forces occur when Io's orbit is disrupted by Europa and Ganymede and then is pulled back into its regular orbit by the gravitational pull of Jupiter. This generates incredible amounts of energy that leads to volcanic eruptions. Io also creates energy as it orbits through Jupiter's magnetic field. One thousand kilograms of material is stripped from Io';s surface every second due to Jupiter's magnetic field. This material forms a torus, a doughnut shaped cloud of ions. Because the ions travel outwards, their pressure doubles the size of Jupiter's magnetic field. This generates almost twice as much heat as the earth despite the fact that Io is less than one third the size of the Earth (Hamilton 1997-2001).


Europa is Jupiter's fourth largest moon out of seventeen, and is the sixth closest to Jupiter. Its mean distance from Jupiter is 670,900km. It is named after a story from Greek mythology in which Zeus came to the beautiful Europa in the form of a bull while she was gathering flowers. Due to his gentleness, she treated him kindly, and, as she climbed on his back to ride him, he carried her away and made her the Queen of Crete. Zeus reproduced the shape of the bull in the stars for her, which is still recognized today in the constellation Taurus (Windows to the Universe, 1995-1999, 2000). The most significant attribute of the moon Europa is its smooth and icy surface. The surface fractures along fault lines and ridges, creating eruptions of ice volcanoes. These ice crust movements prove that warmer ice and possibly even water is below the surface. There are even places on Europa that are similar to the ice flows in the Earth's polar regions. The possibility of the existence of liquid water on Europa could mean that life exists there. There is also a presence of oxygen in its atmosphere, formed by sunlight hitting the ice and creating water vapor. Oxygen is only present in a quantity that is one hundred billionth that of Earth, but its presence nonetheless indicates further that life could possibly exist on Europa (Hamilton, 1997-2001).


Ganymede has a mass of 1.48*10^23 kg, an orbital period of 7.154553 Earth days, and a mean distance from Jupiter that is about 1,070,000km. Its geologic history includes crater impacts, internal tectonic deformation and frequent ejection of materials from its surface. The terrain surface of Ganymede varies. Dark and densely clustered craters define almost half of Ganymede's surface. This appearance resembles that of Earth's moon. The dark area is speckled, however, by bright spots known as "palimpsests." Also in the dark area is the Gilgamesh Basin, which was created by the impact of a crater and is today the largest and clearly observable features on Ganymede. Lightly cratered and grooved terrain dominates the other half of Ganymede's surface. There are many light and dark ray craters that create the grooved appearance. Among these grooved areas, however, there are some patches of smooth plain.The thickness of Ganymede's regolith varies according to latitude and the distance from the peak of orbital motion. The regolith is the surface layer of Ganymede, which comprises rocky debris randomly strewn about by the impact of past meteor collisions. The fragmented quality of Ganymede's icy surface allows frequent and high levels of sputtering. This involves protons and helium ions that were once contained in the core of the moon, to eject themselves through the surface and release high amounts of energy in the process. They have the capacity to do this because Ganymede's core has an abundance of water, which permits the transfer of heat in low temperatures.


Callisto, one of the four main moons of Jupiter, was discovered on January 7, 1610 by Galileo Galilei. It is the second largest moon of Jupiter and the third largest in the solar system. Its diameter is about 4,806 km. Callisto has a rotational and orbital period of 16.68902 days and a mean distance from Jupiter of 1,833,000 making it the farthest moon from Jupiter of the four big moons. Its orbit is almost a perfect circle. The surface is twice as bright as Earth’s moon and its heavily cratered ice and rocky dust surface hasn’t changed for about 4 billion years making it "the oldest landscape in the solar system" (page 2, The most prominent cratered region is known as Valhalla which is about 300 km across with concentric ridges extending 1,500 km from the center. The interior is made up of ice and rock and has the lowest density (1.86gm/cm cubed) of the Galilean moons. Callisto’s subsolar Temperature is 168 K and its Equatorial Subsurface Temperature is 126 K.

Useful Stats (


Mass= 1.900*10^27 kg

Radius= 71,492 km


Mass= 8.94*10^22 kg

Orbital Period= 1.769 Earth days

Mean distance from Jupiter= 421,600 km


Mass= 4.8*10^22 kg

Orbital Period= 3.55 Earth days

Mean distance from Jupiter= 670,900 km


Mass= 1.48*10^23 kg

Orbital Period= 7.154553 Earth days

Mean distance from Jupiter= 1,070,000 km


Mass= 1.08*10^23 kg

Orbital Period= 16.689 Earth days

Mean distance from Jupiter= 1,883,000 km


The materials of our madness won't be that extensive: Telescope, micrometer eyepiece for measurements, data sheets, writing utensils, hot chocolate, and dear lord don't forget the flashlight. There are two huge parts of the lab: one is gathering the data by observing the moons, and the other is plugging the data into the equations and proving the laws.


The first part involves finding a time when Jupiter is visible using the USNO Site and SkyMag online (usually only at times when you'd rather have been sleeping). Access the USNO Site to procured the rise, peak, and set times of Jupiter for observation. You will need to note at what time Jupiter will be visible and at it's highest point in the sky. Winter months are well suited for viewing. After you run a printoff of the times Jupiter will be up over the course of a month or so, you will need to find a space in time where the weather looks like it will be clear enough at night to find Jupiter. Plan on going out five times: the first four times will be setting up the telescope and taking the measurements of the moons once. The moons really don't move very much over the course of an hour, so only one measurement is necessary. The fifth time will consist of a five hour bananza where you will sketch out the places of each moon over a five hour period. This will help you get a better idea of how the moons actually move. Before you do this, it is smart to run a simulation program so you know what moons are which when you are looking through the telescope at Jupiter. NOTE: MAKE SURE YOU MEASURE THE DIAMETER OF JUPITER ACROSS WITH MICROMETER UNITS. YOU WILL NEED THIS MEASUREMENT LATER.

The Galilean satellites do their dance! It pays to plan your evening! (Simulation from the XEphem--a scientific astronomical package)

Your instructor will need to help you set up the telescope the first couple of times. Plan on going out at least twice before you attempt to take measurements on your own. So in reality you will go out at least seven times. Have your instructor show you the different eyepieces for the scope and how to use the micrometer. Finding Jupiter is not an easy task, so use the link to SkyMag Online above to figure out where it will be in the night sky.

Before taking down measurements, you will need to create a data sheet, one person should observe while the other will record the measurements on a super-cool data sheet. You may model your data sheet after this one. You will need to measure the distances between Jupiter and each moon with the telescope micrometer. After doing this over five nights, you will have enough data to start your calculations. Feel free to consult our lab if there are any questions.


After the measurements are gathered you will need to start on the calculations. Find the maximum distance out of all your measurements for each moon of Jupiter, using StatView or a similar program. These are what you will use for the rest of the calculations.

You will now need to convert the micrometer values to actual distances in kilometers. Use the actual radius of Jupiter from the books and convert your measurement of Jupiter in micrometers to kilometers. You then have a ratio to work with:

Converting Micrometer Units:

Jupiter = X number of Micrometer Units Across (observed)

Jupiter's Radius = 71, 492 km (given) = X Micrometers (observed)

Using this ratio, we will now be able to convert the micrometer measurements from above into kilometers, simply multiply each micrometer measurement by the ratio.


Finding "k"

You will need to find a workable "k" by using this equation and method from above, this will enable you to find the period of each moon and the mass of Jupiter.

T^2 = k(R^3)

k = the figures in parethesis

G = 6.67x10^-11 (m^3)/(kg*s^2) = you will need to convert this for your measurements using km and earth days = _______________ (km^3)/(kg*d^2)

M = 1.900 x 10^27 kg


Using the Third Law to Find Orbital Period and Jupiter's Mass:

T^2 = k(R^3)

Using the maximum values of distance for each moon, plug these in as "R". Inputing k as the value from the "finding 'k'" section, you can then find the period, using the equation above. Using your calculations of distance ("R") and orbital period ("T"), we could find the mass for Jupiter using the equation below.

Here you can find our killer handout for Jupiter's mass calculation.

The design of this lab is not easy to undertake. Finding Jupiter and looking at things millions of miles away is prone to error. When you go out the telescope for the first time, you will really see how tough this will be. However, the concept of the design is statistically sound: make measurements, convert them to numbers you can use, plug them into your equations, then use these formulas to try and figure out Jupiters mass using only your measurements.


1. What did you learn from your observations? Did you note anything that would have made the lab easier?

2. How close were your calculated distances and periods compared to the actual ones? What accounts for any error?

3. Were you able to get an accurate mass for Jupiter? Which moon's measurements did you use to find this mass?

4. Which moon was the most helpful in getting accurate numbers? Which moon was worst? Why do you think this is?

5. Are there other ways you could apply Kepler's Laws? If so, how?



Astronomy 161: The Solar System.

C.D. Murray & S.F. Dermott. Solar System Dynamics. 1999

Christian, John Robert. On Tycho's Island. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000.

Ed Stephan's Excellent Animation Web Page.

Gore, Pamela J. W.

Hamilton, Calvin J.©1997-2001.

Hetherington, Norriss S, editor. Encyclopedia of Cosmology. 1993

Ian Ridpath and John Woodruff, editors. Cambridge Astronomy Dictionary. 1995

Jenning, George A. .Modern Geometry with Applications. 1994

Kepler's Laws With Animation.

Kozhamthadam, Job. Discovery of Kepler's Laws. 1994

Morrison, David (Editor). Satellites of Jupiter. University of Arizona Press, Tuscon, Arizona, 1982.

Murdin, Paul, Editor-in-Chief. Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol. 2. 2001.

Peek, Bertrand Meigh. The Planet Jupiter. Faber and Faber, London, 1958.

Pribble, et al. "Final: From the Family Tree of Old School Astronomy"

Price, Fred W. The Planet Observer's Handbook. 1994

Shipman, Harry L. Black Holes, Quasars and the Universe. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1976.

The Art of Renaissance Science.

USNO Astronomical Applications Department Website.

Van Helden, Albert. The Galileo Project. Rice University. 1995.

Windows to the Universe. University Corporation for Atmospheric Research ©1995-1999, 2000. The Regents of The University of Michigan.

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