Observing Jupiter System
Observing the Jupiter System (PDF, 374 KB) In 1610, Galileo’s discovery and careful observations of four of Jupiter’s moons were instrumental in disproving the geocentric model, which held that the Earth was at the center of everything, including the Solar System. In this session, students carefully observe Jupiter’s moons just as Galileo did. The class discusses their observations and arrives at the conclusion that Jupiter is at the center of a system of orbiting moons. Students’ reenactment of this discovery highlights the important role of the telescope in the development of astronomy, starting at the very onset of the telescope’s use as a scientific instrument. They learn that the farther out an object orbits, the longer it takes to orbit.
(Session 3.2 of the GEMS Space Science Sequence for grades 6-8).
Observing the Jupiter System is © 2007 by the Regents of the University of California and may be duplicated for non-profit education purposes.