AST80015(formerly HET620) Planetary Science

Course/s with Unit:
A unit of study in the Graduate Certificate of Science (Astronomy), Graduate Diploma of Science (Astronomy) and Master of Science (Astronomy).

Credit Points:
12.5 Credit Points

Duration:
One semester

Contact Hours:
Equivalent to 60 hours

Campus:
Off-campus

Prerequisites:
AST80005/HET602 Exploring the Solar System, or equivalent.

Corequisites:
Nil.

Learning and Teaching Structure:
Online delivery mode, contact via newsgroups & email.

Assessment:
Assessable newsgroup contributions (30%), online tests (20%) and project (50%).

Aims:
This Unit will provide students with a detailed understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of planetary science - combining astronomy, geology, chemistry, and atmospheric science. It will investigate the origins and evolution of our Solar System, the terrestrial and giant planets, planetary atmospheres and surface phenomena.

Objectives:
After successfully completing this Unit, students should be able to:

  • appreciate that planetary science is an inter-disciplinary field involving astronomy, physics, chemistry and geology;
  • understand planetary orbits and the nature of gravity in shaping our Solar System;
  • understand planetary atmospheres, surfaces and interiors and specifically what they can teach us about planet formation;
  • research an astronomy topic in depth, using dependable sources of astronomical information on the internet and refereed journal articles.

Content:

  • An introduction to the interdisciplinary field of planetary science
  • Orbital dynamics: 2, 3 and N-body problems; perturbations and resonances; tides; dissipative forces
  • Solar heating and radiative equilibrium
  • Planetary atmospheres: thermal structure, composition, meteorology, photochemistry, escape
  • Planetary surfaces: morphology, mineralogy, cratering
  • Planetary interiors: modelling internal structure, terrestrials and giants
  • Magnetospheres: dipole magnetic fields, plasma, planetary magnetospheres
  • Debris: meteorites, asteroids, comets and planetary rings
  • Planet formation and the origin of the Solar System

Prescribed Textbook & Reading Materials:
For information about the textbook, follow this link.

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