Module Information

Module Identifier
PH28510
Module Title
The Planets
Academic Year
2016/2017
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 1
Co-Requisite
None
Pre-Requisite
A-level Mathematics (or equivalent)
External Examiners
  • Professor Pete Vukusic (Professor - Exeter University)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 x 1 Hour Lectures
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written Examination  70%
Semester Assessment Coursework  30%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Written Examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Describe planetary orbits, rotations and the evolution of these through time;
2. Describe the physical processes that underlie the formation and evolution of the solid and gaseous planets;
3. Discuss current observations and models of exoplanets, especially close in Jupiter sized objects (or Jupiters);
4. Explain the processes responsible for internal magnetic fields in terrestrial planets, gas giants and ice giants;
5. Discuss the methods used to determine the internal structure of planets;
6. Explain how tides arise and how they influence the evolution of planet/moon/ring systems;
7. Explain the development of surface geology on different solid planets in terms of the underlying physical processes;
8. Critically discuss the techniques available for determining surface and internal composition of planets;
9. Discuss planetary geodesy how the shape of planetary objects is determined and described;
10. Discuss the available techniques/software for planetary mapping.

Brief description

IMPACS has developed a strong research area covering planetary science, remote-sensing of planetary surfaces and planetary cartography. These research areas are of direct relevance to this module and allow us to provide research-informed teaching throughout the module scheme. PH18010 is desirable.

Content

  • Defining planets; what do we mean? Terrestrial planets, gas giants, ice giants, Kuiper belt objects, Oort cloud objects. Asteroids, Meteoroids, Dust and Rings. The exoplanetary 'zoo'. Interstellar 'planets'?
  • Planetary formation; accretion in the protostellar nebula.
  • Planetary formation; gravitational accretion, differences in composition with distance from the parent star.
  • Planetary structure and generation of magnetic fields.
  • Planetary dynamics; orbits, tides, moons and rings.
  • Planetary surface processes; cratering, erosion, tectonics.
  • Planetary geodesy and planetary mapping.
  • Comparative planetology.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number All questions set in the coursework and formal examination will include numerical problems.
Communication Written communication is developed in the coursework.
Improving own Learning and Performance Marking and feedback of coursework will provide a means for the student to improve learning and performance.
Information Technology Students will be required to research topics within the module via the internet. Word processing (or equivalent) skills will be required for the research essay.
Personal Development and Career planning The module will highlight the latest developments in this field and hence will assist with career development.
Problem solving Problem solving is a key skill in physics and will be tested by the coursework and a formal examination at the end of the module.
Research skills Students are required to research topics relevant to the module.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 5