Fall 2020 Graduate Courses

Core Course

Principles of Planetary Physics (3)

PTYS Graduate Core Course. Introductory physics of planetary and interplanetary gases, fluids and plasmas. Thermodynamics, kinetic theory, plasma physics, hydrodynamics, and magnetohydrodynamics with solar-system applications. This includes planetary atmospheres, turbulence, solar wind, solar-system magnetic fields, dynamo theory, and planetary magnetospheres. Students will be expected to be familiar with vector calculus and both ordinary and partial differential equations. Sample course syllabus, Giacalone (PDF).

(001) Giacalone

Core Course

Planetary Global Tectonics (3)

PTYS Graduate Core Course. Application of the physics of solid-state deformation to global tectonics of the terrestrial planets and icy moons of the solar system. Modes of topographic support, isostasy and implications for gravity/topography ratios on one-plate planets. Theory of floating elastic plates as an approximation to the lithosphere. Use of seismic data to determine the interior structure and composition and modes of heat conduction in planets.
Sample course syllabus, McEwen (PDF)
Sample course syllabus, Showman (PDF)

Asteroids, Comets and Kuiper Belt Objects (3)

This is an introduction to the "minor planets," the asteroids, comets and Kuiper Belt objects. The focus will be on origin and evolution (including current evolution), as well as techniques of study. It will include an evening at the telescope of an asteroid search program. Graduate-level requirement includes some original work or calculations in the paper/project submitted and to research one of the primary topics and lead the class discussion of it. May be co-convened with PTYS 416.

(001) Haenecour

Instrumentation and Statistics (3)

Radiant energy; signals and noise; detectors and techniques for imaging, photometry, polarimetry and spectroscopy. Examples from stellar and planetary astronomy in the x-ray, optical, infrared and radio. Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth research paper. Identical to ASTR 518. ASTR is home department.

(001) Bender/Douglas

Observational Planetary Astronomy & Remote Sensing (3)

The course surveys current techniques and instrumentation used in observational astronomy, providing students with background that will allow them to consider the observational (empirical) basis of planetary astronomy. With this knowledge, students can begin to design observations to test their understanding of planetary atmospheres, surfaces, and orbital and bulk characteristics. Content includes: design of modern telescopes, optical configurations (e.g. adaptive optics), detectors, statistics, spectrometers and spacecraft instrumentation; UV, optical, infrared, sub-millimeter and radar techniques; basics of radiative transfer.

(001) Griffith

The Physics of the Sun (3)

The purpose of this course is to present an introduction to the physics of the Sun. Topics will include the physics of solar magnetic fields, solar interior and helioseismology, radiative transfer, solar wind, and solar-energetic particles. This course will introduce the equations of magnetohydrodynamics and apply them to important solar-physics problems. Examples include: the solar dynamo, the physics of sunspots and flares, origin of the solar wind, and the structure of the solar atmosphere. The emphasis throughout will be on basic physical processes and the various approximations used in their application to realistic and relevant problems. Identical to ASTR/ATMO/PHYS 537. PTYS is home department.

(001) Klein

Dynamic Meteorology (3)

Thermodynamics and its application to planetary atmospheres, hydrostatics, fundamental concepts and laws of dynamic meteorology. Identical to ATMO 541A. ATMO is home department.

(001) Zeng

Inverse Problems in Geophysics (3)

Linear and nonlinear inverse theory, including least squares, generalized and maximum likelihood methods. Identical to GEOS 567 and ATMO 567. GEOS is home department.

(001) Bennett

Exoplanets: Discovery and Characterization (3)

This course will cover observational and theoretical ideas pertinent to planets orbiting other stars. Discovery and characterization techniques will be emphasized along with associated theory. In-class format will alternate from traditional lectures, guest lectures by local or visiting experts, and student-lead presentations.

(001) Barman

Planetary Geology Field Studies (1)

The acquisition of first-hand experience with geologic processes and features, focusing on how those features/processes relate to the surfaces of other planets and how accurately those features/processes can be deduced from remote sensing data. This is a three- to five-day field trip to an area of geologic interest where each student gives a short presentation to the group. This trip typically involves camping and occasional moderate hiking; students need to supply their own camping materials. Students may enroll in the course up to 10 times for credit. Trip is led by a Planetary Sciences faculty member once per semester. Altnerative grading (SPF).

(001) Byrne

Special Topics in Planetary Science (1-4)

Course will emphasize emerging and current topical research in Planetary Science; course will be offered as needed or required.  Sample course topics might include an active spacecraft mission, an emerging research area, or new discoveries.  Course may be co-convened with PTYS 495B. Graduate-level requirements may include an additional project for graduate credit and extra questions on exams, depending on the course/topic taught. Course may be repeated for credit 4x (or up to 12 units). Regular grades assigned (ABC).

(003) Barnes, Carter

Fall 2020 PTYS 595B (003). 4 units. Science and Exploration of the Moon. This course is an in-depth look at the Moon and lunar exploration. We will cover lunar composition, geology and geophysics, and will discuss lunar evolution. Students will gain a broad introduction to the lunar literature and datasets, and have a chance to spend time specifically delving into topics relevant to their research interests. We will also discuss lunar exploration, including current plans by NASA and commercial space. Assignments will include student presentations, homeworks/paper reviews, and a final team-based project to develop an instrument or mission that could be used to advance our understanding of the Moon. The class is 4 credit hours to support student work on the final project.

Planetary Surface Processes Seminar (1)

This seminar course will focus on discussion of planetary surfaces and their evolution, including geology of rocky planets and moons, icy surfaces and moons, regolith development, surface-atmosphere interactions, sub-surface structure and interiors, and climate change. The course will involve the exchange of scholarly information in a small group setting, including presentations and discussions of student research, reviews of recent science results and discussion of proposal ideas. Students will be expected to lead 1 to 2 presentations and participate in group discussions. This course is intended for graduate students; senior undergraduates may be able to enroll with permission of the instructor. Alternative Grading S, P, F; may be repeated for 10 completions/units.

(001) Carter