PHYS 480/581: Planetary Astrophysics


Instructor
Prof. Diana Dragomir
Email: dragomir@unm.edu
Office: PAIS 3226


Description of the class

This is an upper undergraduate/graduate PHYS course that will introduce the physics of planetary systems. Because the topic is so large, it will be impossible to cover everything in just one semester. A tentative course schedule is given at the end of this syllabus, but it will almost certainly change and evolve as the course progresses. I intend to interweave the study of our own solar system with the study of exoplanets, since they share a common underlying physics and chemistry. The general topics we will cover are: orbital mechanics from 2-body problem to more complicated cases; energy transport; planetary atmospheres, surfaces and interiors; minor bodies; and planet formation and evolution. If time permits, we may also discuss the emerging star-planet connections that observations of extrasolar systems are hinting at, and/or the topic of life elsewhere.

Syllabus

The detailed syllabus can be found here.

Homework Assignments:

HW1

HW2 (due 10/7)

HW3 (due 10/21)

HW4 (due 11/11)

Final project:

Guidelines and possible topics

Tentative Schedule

Date Lecture Notes Reading HW Due
Week 1
8/23-8/27

PS ch. 1

Week 2
8/30-9/3

FEEPS ch. I B+C; PS ch. 2.1 

Week 3
9/6-9/10

PS ch. 2.2; PS ch. 2.3 + 2.4

Week 4
9/13-9/17

PS ch. 2.6; PS ch. 11

HW 1 due (9/16)
Week 5
9/20-9/24

Solar Heating; Energy Transport

PS ch. 3.1 + 3.2; PS ch. 3.3 + 3.4

Week 6
09/27-10/1

PS ch. 4

Week 7
10/4-10/8

S&D, M19 (a cursory reading is sufficient)

HW 2 due (10/7)
Week 8
10/11-10/15

Planetary Surfaces; Fall break

PS ch. 5

Week 9
10/18-10/22

Volcanism (guest lecture by Prof. Mousumi Roy); Meteoritics and isotopes (guest lecture by Prof. Zach Sharp)

PS ch. 5.3; PS ch. 8

HW 3 due (10/21)
Week 10
10/25-10/29

Earth's interior (guest lecture by Prof. Jin Zhang); Planetary and Satellite Interiors

PS ch. 6.1 + 6.2; PS ch. 6.3 + 6.4

Week 11
11/1-11/5

Minor bodies

PS ch. 9 and 10

Week 12
11/8-11/12

Protoplanetary disks (Zoomed guest lecture by Dr. Dana Anderson); Planet formation

PS ch. 11 and FEEPS ch. II; PS 13.1 - 13.7 and FEEPS ch. III

HW 4 due (11/11)
Week 13
11/15-11/19

Planet migration, scattering and tidal evolution

PS 13.8 and FEEPS ch. IV

Week 14
11/22-11/26

The star-planet connection or Life in the Solar System and beyond (time permitting); Thanksgiving break

PS 13.2 or PS ch. 12.5 and 12.6


 
Week 15
11/29-12/3

Student presentations

HW 5 due (12/2)
Week 16
12/6-12/10

Student presentations