Module Identifier PH28510  
Module Title THE PLANETS  
Academic Year 2000/2001  
Co-ordinator Dr Nicholas Mitchell  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Dr James Whiteway  
Pre-Requisite PH11010 , PH12010 , PH13010 , PH14010 , PH15010 , PH16010  
Course delivery Lecture   20 lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   2 seminars/exercise classes; 2 tutorials  
Assessment Exam   End of semester examinations   70%  
  Course work   Example Sheets Coursework Deadline (by week of Semester): Example Sheets 11,12 and 15 Weeks 2,3 & 6 Example Sheets 16,17 and 19 Weeks 7,8 & 10   30%  

Module description
This module covers the physics of planetary and satellite interiors, atmospheres and orbital dynamics. The module describes the formation of the solar system and examines the processes of planetisimal accretion. The module gives an account of tidal phenomena, including ocean tides and the Roche tidal limit for planetary ring systems. A description of the physics of planetary interiors covers the process of differentiation, the self compression model of internal density and how effective potential reveals information about planetary internal structure. Heat generation and flow in planetary interiors is examined and the self-exciting dynamo theory for the generation of magnetic field is introduced. The orbital behaviour of solar-system objects is examined and phenomena such as orbital resonances discussed. The evolution and dynamics of the atmospheres of both gas-giant and terrestrial planets are addressed, with particular emphasis on the contrasting histories of Earth, Mars and Venus.

Learning outcomes
After taking this module students should be able to:

Outline syllabus
OUTLINE SYLLABUS FOR PART 1: THE PLANETS AS SOLID BODIES - DR N J MITCHELL
(9 lectures + 1 example class)
1. Formation of the solar system.
2. Moons and Rings.
3. Ocean tides, the tidal recession of the moon.
4. Planets as cold bodies, maximum and minimum sizes, probing planetary interiors.
5. Density within a planet - the Adams-Williamson equation and its defects.
6-7. Internal mass distribution and Figure. The J coefficients, moment of inertia factor, "effective potential" (geopotential) for rotating planet, McCullagh's theroem. Planets made of hydrogen and ice (phase diagrams).
8. Temperature inside a planet. Heat sources. Convection, the Rayleigh number.
9. Generation of planetary magnetic fields.

OUTLINE SYLLABUS FOR PART II: ORBITAL MECHANICS AND PLANETARY ATMOSPHERES - DR G VAUGHAN
(9 lectures + 1 example class)
1. Orbits: Kepler's Laws
2. Departures from Kepler's Laws - orbital parameters - ice age theory.
4. Atmospheres of inner planets: runaway greenhouse effect on Venus.
5. Isotopic ratios, Structure of the Martian atmosphere. Contrasting histories of Venus, Earth and Mars.
6-7. Composition of outer planet atmospheres. Coriolis force.
8-9. Weather patterns on the outer planets. Circulation theories and dynamical instabilities.

Reading Lists
Books
A full description of appropriate texts will be provided at the start of the module..