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The Planet Jupiter and its Moons

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Spacer The students observe the planet Jupiter and its moons using the observatory telescope. They are asked (1) to sketch Jupiter and any surface features they can see and (2) to record the positions of the moons with respect to the disk of Jupiter. The remainder of the lab involves answering the following questions:

  1. Why was Jupiter not perfectly round? Does earth show a similar effect?

  2. What are the surface markings on Jupiter?

  3. Try to identify the satellites you saw using the diagrams from the Astronomical Ephemeris.

  4. Comment on the laws governing the orbits of the Galilean moons and tell why they are not always lined up according to distance from Jupiter.

  5. Why was Galileo's discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter of such importance to astronomy and later to the theory of gravitation?.

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