Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Planets
Academic Year
Semester 1
A-level Mathematics (or equivalent)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

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


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

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Describe the physical processes that underlie the formation and evolution of the solid and gaseous planets.
2. Summarise current observations and models of exoplanets and their orbits.
3. Explain the internal structure and magnetic field generation within the planets.
4. Evaluate the techniques available for determining the surface and internal composition of planets.
5. Explain the development of surface geology on solid planetary bodies in terms of the underlying physical processes.
6. Describe the available techniques for planetary mapping, geodesy, and remote sensing.

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.


  • 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.


This module is at CQFW Level 5