Our big idea is to know how to use planetary photography and Jupiter’s moons to find the mass of Jupiter. We would observe the planet, Jupiter , and its 4 galilean moons and calculate the distance between the moons and Jupiter and how much it changes over time. Thus we would then apply Kepler’s Third Law to find the mass of Jupiter. To determine the mass of a stellar body like Jupiter, the process uses simple gravitational physics. Jupiter pulls on the satellite with a gravitational force that must be equal to the velocity of the satellite orbiting around the planet
It is not possible to measure the velocity of the satellite, but we can find the orbital radius and period of it. Therefore we can find out Jupiter’s mass using Kepler’s Third Law.
The equation of Kepler’s Third Law is the following:
With M standing for the mass of Jupiter, R standing for the radius of the satellite’s orbit, G being a gravitational constant and P being the period of the satellite.
Our hypothesis is that the mass of Jupiter is larger than the mass of Earth.