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PHSCS 227

Solar System Astronomy

Physics & Astronomy College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Course Description

Solar-system dynamics, planetary surfaces and atmospheres. Analysis of stellar data from telescopes, spectrometers and photometers. Interaction of light with atoms and molecules. Extrasolar planets.

When taught

Fall.

Min

3

Fixed

3

Fixed

3

Fixed

0

Other Prerequisites

Math 112 or equivalent; Phscs 127 or concurrent

Title

The Solar System

Learning Outcome

Students will be able to describe the differences between the planets and the moons and how these differences provide clues as to their formation history.  Mastery of this knowledge will be determined through short answer essay questions on exams and preclass questions.

Title

Celestial Mechanics and the Nature of Light

Learning Outcome

Students will be able to solve elementary problems in classical celestial mechanics and in the interaction of light with atoms and molecules.  Mastery will be measured through the use of homework and exam problems.

Title

Scientific Writing

Learning Outcome

Students will be taught how to search astronomy publications to gather information on a given topic and to present their findings in the form of a scientific paper with proper acknowledgement.  Progress will be monitored through regular meetings with the instructor who will determine at each interview the student's progress and provide appropriate guidance.  Students will be given a rubric to guide them in the writing of the paper, and the rubric will be used to grade the final paper. Mastery will be determined through an oral presentation and a final written report.

Title

Scientific Research

Learning Outcome

Students will work on various projects throughout the semester that relate to planetary and stellar science using real astronomical data.  They will write-up their results following a standard rubric.  Mastery will be determined through the completion of the analysis and grading of each write-up as defined in the rubric.

Title

Stellar Astrophysics

Learning Outcome

Students will be able to use equations and observational data to determine the physical properties of stars, such as distance, mass, temperature, etc.  Mastery of this knowledge will be measured through the use of homework and exam problems.

Title

Stellar Evolution

Learning Outcome

Students will learn how the initial mass of the protostar determines all of the physical characteristics of the star and how it will evolve throughout its life.  Mastery of this knowledge will be determine through short answer essay questions on exams and problems.