Workshop – Investigating our place in the Universe with PETeR

Could your students investigate what the Solar System is like and our place in it just from their own observations? Well, the answer is yes, and it’s not as difficult as you might think.

In this session we will learn how to investigate planets and other objects in the Solar System from observations with robotic telescopes.

Author: Nayra Rodríguez Eugenio

Astrophysicist, science communicator and educator at the Outreach and Communication Unit of the IAC. Coordinator of the Educational Project with Robotic Telescopes (PETeR)

Learning Scenario: VENUS AND MARS

Imagine that you are an astronomer from the beginning of the XVII century as Galileo was.

There are two types of models that explain, with more complications or less, the observations of the planets’ movements.

How could you find out which one is right?

Let’s investigate it like Galileo did!

Preparing for our research

1. Download and install in your computer one the following image analysis softwares:

  • PeterSoft
  • SalsaJ

2. Download the images of Venus and Mars obtained with the Liverpool Telescope:


Collaborative spreadsheets


Diagram of Venus phases

Let’s create our own diagram of Venus phases collaborately:

  • Access this padlet:
  • Include the image of Venus you have analysed (the title should be the date the image was obtained in the format YYYYY/MM).
  • Sort images from oldest to most recent