Goals for Astronomy 223


Overarching goals:
  1. To understand important physical, chemical, and geological processes in our Solar System, and the major characteristics of the other planets;
  2. To understand how we explore alien worlds and the types of measurements we can make remotely;
  3. To more fully understand space and time, and how our Earth fits within the broader context of the Solar System.

Students should be able to define:

  • The sequence of solar system formation
  • Kepler’s Laws of motion
  • Newton’s Laws and the Law of Universal Gravitation
  • Processes which affect planetary surfaces
  • Identifying features of each planet
  • Typical densities of planetary materials
    Students should be able to identify:
  • relative ages by superposition of features
  • Terrestrial and Jovian planets
  • methods used in determining age of materials
  • factors which influence existence of life
  • differentiated interior structure
  • bodies in orbital resonance
  • sources of heat
  • evidence for plate tectonics
  • sources of observational bias and sampling

    Students should be able to compute:

  • mass of a planet from orbital characteristics of a satellite
  • acceleration in a circular orbit
  • bulk density of a planet
  • escape velocity from a given height above a planetary surface
  • scale height in an atmosphere
  • equilibrium temperature
  • Roche limit (distance)

    Students should be able to explain:

  • how accretion occurs
  • the composition of various parts of the solar nebula
  • orbital motions
  • which processes are at currently at work on a given planet or moon
  • which processes were present but have ceased on a given planet
  • how planetary size and shape affect its evolution
  • what bulk density tells about interior
  • what factors influence the presence of an atmosphere
  • vertical temperature and density structure in an atmosphere
  • how meteorites can be linked to parent bodies
  • how satellites induce tides
  • interior structure and how it is inferred
  • greenhouse effect
  • compare and contrast different planets