Key: CS = the required textbook, Consolmagno and Schaefer's Worlds Apart.

 

Date

Subject

Reading

Preliminaries: the scale of the Solar system, and the Sun itself

1

1 September

Inventory of the Solar system. Four of the most important features of the Solar system

CS pp. 3-18

2

6 September

A few facts about the Sun; blackbody radiation ; nucleosynthesis

CS pp. 21-39

The Moon and the four terrestrial planets: an introduction to the Solar system's rocky bodies

3

8 September

Earth's moon: structure and composition; cratering; temperature

CS pp. 41-47, 56-60
4 13 September Minerals and rocks, isotope fractionation, and radioisotopic age dating CS pp. 47-56
5 15 September Mercury: its structure, composition, and orbit; differentiated structures and the moment of inertia CS pp. 63-80
6 20 September Venus: volcanism, tectonics, and heating the interiors of terrestrial planets CS pp. 83-101
7 22 September Venus and Earth: atmospheric circulation, Hadley cells, the greenhouse effect, and life CS pp. 103-119
8 27 September Earth and Mars: water, ice and life; evidence of ancient Martian volcanism and tectonic activity CS pp. 121-140

Celestial mechanics: introduction, and the convenient example of the asteroids

9 29 September Newton's Laws and orbital dynamics CS pp. 143-165
10 4 October Perturbation of orbits and orbital resonances: dynamics of the asteroid belt and meterorites; transfer orbits; the restricted three-body problem and Lagrange points CS pp. 178-187
11 6 October
12 13 October The composition and age of asteroids and meteorites CS pp. 167-178
13 18 October Jupiter, its atmosphere and magnetic field CS pp. 189-209
  20 October Midterm exam #1, covering all material introduced to date.

The giant planets

14 25 October Albedo, emissivity and planetary surface temperature; heat conductivity, diffusion, and planetary interior temperature  
15 27 October Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; clouds and their formation; pressure in an isothermal atmosphere CS pp. 211-217
16 1 November Convection, adiabatic processes in ideal gases, temperature structure of atmospheres, winds and storms, Jeans escape of light molecules CS p. 200
17 3 November Planetary rings: tides, the Roche limit and the Hill sphere CS pp. 217-223
18 8 November Perturbations and resonances II: wave structure in rings, horseshoe orbits, ring shepherding, measurement of moments of inertia CS pp. 223-235

Smaller denizens of the outer Solar system: satellites, comets, the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud

19 10 November The moons of the giant planets: orbital resonances, tidal heating, thermal evolution, life, and the time scale of giant-planet formation CS pp. 237-256, 295-301
20 15 November
21 17 November Radiation forces, comet tails, and comets CS pp. 259-281
22 22 November Pluto, Eris and the Kuiper belt; Sedna and the Oort cloud  

The formation and evolution of planetary systems

23 29 November Planet formation from disks around young stars CS pp. 283-295
24 1 December
25 6 December Exoplanets  
26 8 December
  13 December Midterm exam #2, in which material introduced since the first exam will be emphasized
  21 December Final exam (4-7 PM), covering the entire course