Planetary Science - CED00016M

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  • Department: Centre for Lifelong Learning
  • Module co-ordinator: Mr. Ben Johnstone-Bray
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module will focus on planets and the development of life. The module will cover the foundational physical chemistry necessary to understand more advanced topics in planetary atmospheres and astrobiology. The bodies of the solar system will be examined and compared, including discussions of their surface and interior properties. The module will also explore exoplanets and methods of exoplanet detection. Skills in scientific communication and essay writing will be developed.

Module learning outcomes

By the conclusion of the module the student should be able to:

  • Describe the origins of planetary systems
  • Compare and contrast the planets in the solar system
  • Explain the motions of the planets and carry out calculations using Kepler’s laws of planetary motion
  • Discuss features of planetary surfaces
  • Demonstrate knowledge of planetary interiors and the underlying physical phenomena which produce planetary magnetic fields
  • Evidence understanding of the physics and chemistry of planetary atmospheres and the atmospheric markers for life
  • Explain the motions of the planets and carry out calculations using Kepler’s laws of planetary motion
  • Discuss the origins of life in the universe and the importance of water
  • Detail the boundaries of life in the universe
  • Produce a conference-style poster on a topic in modern planetary science
  • Produce a coherent scientific essay on a contemporary debate in planetary science.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Coursework
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Coursework
N/A 100

Module feedback

The tutor will give regular individual feedback throughout the module on work submitted.

The assessment feedback is as per the university’s guidelines with regard to timings.

Indicative reading

  • Eales, S.: Planets and Planetary Systems, Wiley, 2009
  • Smith, I. W. M., Cockell, C. S., Leach, S.: Astrochemistry and Astrobiology, Springer, 2013
  • Carroll, B. W. & Ostlie, D.A.: An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, Pearson, 2014



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.