Moons of Jupiter
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. It has a large number of satellites. The largest is Ganymede which is about three-quarters the size of Mars. Ganymede orbits Jupiter in a period of about 7 days. Other large satellites are Io, Europa and Callisto. These orbit Jupiter with periods ranging from 2 to 16 days.
The goal of the project is to obtain a
series of images of Jupiter and its satellites so that the orbital periods of as many of
the satellites as possible can be determined. How well can these periods be determined
from the data obtained? What is the evidence for orbital resonances? Software is available
to aid the identification of the satellites.
As well as the four bright Galilean satellites, measurements should also
be made of the
fainter satellites like Himalia.
This project would benefit from a student
group willing to make more observations (at least 15).
An example of the type of observations required is given below.
By taking a series of such images the
relative position of the moons can be readily determined.