Columbia University 
Astronomy and Astrophysics

HOME PAGE (Spring 2013)
Astronomy C3102, Section 1 (#14935)
Planetary Dynamics & Physics
Tuesday & Thursday, 2:40 - 3:55pm
Classroom: Pupin 1332

Prof. Arlin Crotts
Professor of Astronomy
Phone number: (212-85)4-7899
Office: Pupin 1012
Office hours: Wednesday, 1:30-3pm and by appointment
Instructor's home page

Bulletin description

Course summary:

We study the processes that formed and operate in the planets -- their internal dynamics, surfaces, and atmospheres, as well as the same issues for moons, asteroids, comets and planetary rings, many of which will allow us to construct a detailed history of the Solar System's formation. We will study the effects of the Sun on the planets, and discuss briefly how the Sun's characteristics influence their environments. Emphasis will be placed on how we know what we know, including the physics and astrophysics of planetary exploration and remote sensing.

Prerequisites and Requirements:

Prerequisite: A year of university level physics, presumably classical mechanics and electrodynamics, is required.

Requirements: This course includes significant involvement in an independent work on a planetary science topic. Classes will be conducted in part in seminar style, and class participation is important.

Course Work:        Requirement        Frequency        Credit

                    Quizzes                2*             10%		
                    Homework sets          6*             30%
                    Hour Midterm Exam      1              10%
                    Research Report        1              25%
                    Final Exam             1              25%		
                    Thought/Participation  all semester! 100%

*The lowest score will be dropped among the eight quizzes and homework sets (or the equivalent value on the midterm or final exam if these are lower).

Course Syllabus

Required texts:

Planetary Sciences (Second edition) by Imke de Pater and Jack J. Lissauer (ISBN-13: 978-0521853712), Cambridge University Press, $90 at Lerner book store (on reserve in Science Library, Mathematics building 2nd floor).

Additional texts:

Capture Dynamics and Chaotic Motions in Celestial Mechanics by Edward Belbruno (ISBN 0-691-09480-2), Princeton University Press (on reserve in Science Library, Mathematics building 2nd floor).

plus notes on celestial mechanics and regular lecture notes to be distributed in class.

Astronomy Links:

A list of interesting, even helpful Astronomy links may be found at AstroTools. In particular, look to the right, under the column "Public Outreach", including the Astronomy Picture of the Day, a solar system simulator, a comprehensive list of world-wide astronomy websites, and news updates. Also check out our Public Observing Open Nights, scheduled this semester for Feb. 1, Feb. 15, Mar. 1, Mar. 15, Apr. 5, Apr. 19, May 6 and May 17, two hours starting at 7 p.m. February-March and 8 p.m. April-May.

2013 January 26