Spring 2017 Graduate Courses
Physics of the Solar System (3)
Survey of planetary physics, planetary motions, planetary interiors, geophysics, planetary atmospheres, asteroids, comets, origin of the solar system. Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth research paper on a selected topic and an oral class presentation. This course does not count toward the major requirements in Planetary Sciences. Equivalent to: ASTR 503, GEOS 503, and PHYS 503 (and cross-listed); may be co-convened with PTYS 403. PTYS is home department.
(001) Giacalone | Course Page
Chemistry of the Solar System (3)
PTYS Graduate Core Course. Provides an overview of the gas and ice chemistry in planetary environments including molecular structure, spectroscopy, kinetics. The course describes how these physical processes are manifest in the diverse solar system environments. The instructional level is aimed at beginning graduate students with an adequate background comparable to that obtained from advance undergraduate courses in physics and chemistry. Knowledge of vector calculus and elementary differential equations is assumed. Successful students will be able to understand current research in planetary chemistry and will be well prepared for more detailed studies. Sample course syllabus, Yelle (PDF)
(001) Yelle | Course Page
Atmospheres and Remote Sensing (3)
PTYS Graduate Core Course. Structure, composition, and evolution of atmospheres; atomic and molecular spectroscopy; radiative transfer and spectral line formatting.
(001) Griffith | Course Page
Dynamic Metereology (3)
Thermodynamics and its application to planetary atmospheres, hydrostatics, fundamental concepts and laws of dynamic meteorology. Graduate-level requirements include a more quantitative and thorough understanding of the subject matter. ATMO is home department.
In-depth class about the planet Mars, including origin and evolution, geophysics, geology, atmospheric science, climate change, the search for life, and the history and future of Mars exploration. There will be guest lectures from professors and research scientists with expertise about aspects of Mars. There will be lots of discussion of recent results and scientific controversies about Mars. Graduate-level requirements include the completion of a research project that will be presented in class as well as a report. The research project could be analysis of Mars datasets, a laboratory experiment, or new theoretical modeling. Regular grades are awarded for this course: A B C D E. Prerequisite(s): PTYS 411, Geology of the Solar System is strongly recommended but not required. Identical to: ASTR 542, GEOS 542. May be convened with: PTYS 442.
(001) Swindle | Course Page
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 | Course Page
Planetary Astrobiology (3)
This course will explore the processes related to planet formation, the properties of planets and the planetary conditions required for the emergence of life. We will study the formation of our Solar System and exoplanetary systems, the distribution and properties of exoplanets, and the potential habitability of other planets/moons in our system or extrasolar systems. The course will also review science cases and possible future astrobiology studies, both in site and via remote sensing, of astrobiologically relevant environments. Toward the end of the semester a few guest lectures will highlight particularly exciting and timely topics. This course is identical to ASTR 575; may be co-convened with ASTR 475. ASTR is home department.
Topics in Theoretical Astrophysics (3)
Current topics in theoretical astrophysics in depth, with emphasis on the methodology and techniques of the theorist and the cross-disciplinary nature of astrophysics theory. Example subjects are nuclear astrophysics, hydrodynamics, transient phenomena, planetary interiors and atmospheres, neutron stars, jets and the evolution of star clusters. May be repeated for credit 1 time (maximum 2 enrollments). Identical to ASTR 589 and PHYS 589.
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 but only three enrollments will count toward the major. Trip is led by a Planetary Sciences faculty member once per semester.
(000) Spitale | Course Page
Special Topics in Planetary Science (2-3)
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.
Scientific Instrumentation for Spacecraft: Instrumentation for remote sensing and in situ measurements from the remote perspective of planetary probes, orbiting observatories, and landers have very specific requirements that affect their design and operation. In this course we will introduce several different technologies that are used to obtain spectroscopic, optical, and direct sampling measurements throughout the solar system. We will then discuss the limitation and trades associated with their use in the various environments encountered and platforms available in modern space exploration. Part 2 of a two-course series where a mission concept will be developed. 3 units. 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.
Observational Campaigns: Observational campaigns are often assembled around astronomical events of significance such as a favorable comet apparition or as ‘under-flight’ for mission events. Campaigns can take various forms that focus on a combination of cadence, continuous coverage, or coordinating multiple observational techniques, all with the aim of developing a more integrated understanding of the phenomenon being studied. In this course, students will participate in an existing campaign by becoming involved in the planning of observations, their execution, and the reduction of the data obtained. Interwoven with these activities the, students will be introduced to the scientific questions being studied with the campaign and how the various instrumental tools are combined to address them. Field observations, primarily using the telescopes of the Steward Observatory, will be a required activity. 3 units. 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.