Module Identifier PH28520  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Dr Hien B Vo  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Dr Andrew R Breen, Dr Hien B Vo, Dr Yan Yin  
Pre-Requisite Core Physics Modules at Level 1  
Co-Requisite None  
Mutually Exclusive None  
Course delivery Lecture   30 Hours  
  Seminars / Tutorials   4 workshops  
  Practical   Incorporated into PH25010, PH24520 and PH25520  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam3 Hours  70%
Semester Assessment  30%

Learning outcomes

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


A. Planetary formation and structure: Dr. A. Breen

Introduction to the solar system, Origin, age and mass of the solar nebula, Contraction of the solar nebula
Condensation and accretion of planetismals
3-4 Planetary interiors - self compression and density structure in terrestrial planets and gas giants

5-6   Gravity fields and planetary shape

7. Planetary thermodynamics. heat sources and variation of temperature with depth

8. Planetary magnetic fields - movement of material inside planets and the dynamo mechanism

9. Spare slot - could be used for a workshop class

10.   Problem/discussion class

B. Planetary surfaces and atmospheres, orbits and moons: Dr. H. Vo

11-12: The terrestrial planets: Comparison of surfaces and atmospheres of Venus, Earth and Mars (runaway greenhouse effect on Venus, abundance of water on Earth, loss of atmosphere from Mars)

13:   Comparison of gas giant atmospheres with Earth. Coriolis effect

14-15: Orbits. Kepler's laws and gravitation. Non-Keplerian motion. Orbital resonances.

16-17: Tides

18:   Moons, rings and the Roche limit

19:   Spare slot - could be used for a workshop class

20:   Problem/discussion class

Atmospheric Physics: Dr Yan Yin

A. Atmospheric Composition and Radiative Processes

Composition: major gases. Basic spectroscopy of atmospheric molecules. Greenhouse gases and radicals, aerosols and clouds.
Absorption and emission of radiation, Kirchhoff'r Law, Planck function. Equivalent black-body temperature of the Earth
The `greenhouse effect?: energy fluxes in the atmosphere.
Vertical temperature profile: existence of the stratosphere. Absorption and scattering: Beer'r Law.
Interaction of the atmosphere with ultraviolet and visible photons.
Heating and cooling rates. Effect of different spectral bands.
Photochemical reactions: law of mass action, photodissociation coefficient
Chapman layer theory
Stratospheric and tropospheric circulations.

B Dynamics, thermodynamics and cloud physics

Basic dynamics: forces on a parcel of air, Coriolis force
Geostrophic equilibrium, effect of friction, scale height and the hydrostatic equation
Thermodynamics of dry air: potential temperature   
Stability, adiabatic lapse rate, Brunt-Vaisala frequency
Moisture, saturated adiabatic lapse rate
Wet-bulb and equivalent potential temperature; Normand's theorem
Cloud classification and types
Cloud formation and microphysics 1
Cloud formation and microphysics 1   

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
J. Kaler Astronomy Harper Collins
** Essential Reading
J.M. Wallace and P.V. Hobbs Atmospheric Science, an Introductory Survey 0127329501
J.W. Moran and M.D. Morgan Meteorology 0132667010
W.K. Hartmann Moons and Planets Wadsworth
Zeilik & Gregory Introductory Astronomy & AstroPhysics 4th. Saunders College Publishing


This module is at CQFW Level 5