Skip to content

3rd Gr. – Five Visible Planets, Jovian System

Posted in 3rd Grade, and Astronomy


The word planet comes from the Greek language. It means wanderer, a good name as the planets appear to wander
among the background field of stars.
Humans have looked out into the night sky for hundreds of thousands of years – wondering, mentally (and physically) wandering ourselves.  This guide to the five visible planets will tell you what to look for, and where.
Jupiter surely fascinated Galileo Galilei. He improved the telescope, and discovered its four largest moons- Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto. These are called the Galilean moons in his honor.  He also made the discovery that the Jovian system operates like our solar system in miniature. A good pair of binoculars, or a small telescope*, will let us see these four moons orbiting their planet.  This website shows the four moons  arrangement, and movements.
Try skipping along using the +1 hr. button and see how they orbit.  How can you tell when a moon transits the face of Jupiter, vs. when it goes behind the planet?
*I recently purchased a Galileoscope.  It is a kit, easy to assemble with moderate dexterity.  Especially with two brains and four hands!  You will need a tripod for steady viewing.  It comes with two eyepiece lenses.  The first gives the same magnification, and view, that Galileo himself was using.  The second eyepiece has enough magnification power to just resolve the rings of Saturn.  With careful treatment, a tripod, and some practice focusing, this is a great first telescope. ($50)
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe By Email

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Skip to toolbar