|| PH28510 |
|| THE PLANETS |
|| 2001/2002 |
|| Professor Shadia Habbal |
|| Semester 2 |
|| Dr Andrew Breen |
|| Year 1 Core Modules |
| Course delivery
|| Lecture || 20 lectures |
|| Seminars / Tutorials || 2 seminars/exercise classes; 2 tutorials |
|| Course work || Example Sheets Example Sheets 11,12,14,15,16 & 18
Deadlines are detailed in the Year 2 Example Sheet Schedule distributed by the department || 30% |
|| Exam || 2 Hours End of semester examinations || 70% |
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.
After taking this module students should be able to:
understand the physical processes which underlie the evolution of the solid planets.
explain how observations enable us to probe planetary interiors.
explain how non-Keplarian orbital motion arises.
explain how climate is influenced by orbital motion.
explain the evolution of terrestrial planet atmospheres.
understand the physics governing the large-scale atmospheric circulation on different worlds.
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.
A full description of appropriate texts will be provided at the start of the module..