Planetary Science - 2017

To enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into a course from the provider. Read before you start

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Postgraduate
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: SP1
  • Availability for 2018: SP1
  • Assessment: Assignment - Newsgroups (30%) , Project (50%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 2,440.00
Domestic continuing 2,084.00
International 2,690.00
International continuing 2,334.00

Tuition fees are reduced for continuing registered SWI students.
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This unit provides a detailed understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of planetary science - combining astronomy, geology, chemistry, and atmospheric science. It will investigate the origins and evolution of our Solar System, the terrestrial and giant planets, planetary atmospheres and surface phenomena. This unit assumes familiarity with Exploring the Solar System.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Distinguish that planetary science is an inter-disciplinary field involving astronomy, physics, chemistry and geology and describe inter-related concepts in a non-technical manner understandable to the general public
  2. Explain planetary orbits and discuss the nature of gravity in shaping our Solar System
  3. Discuss planetary atmospheres, surfaces and interiors and explain specifically what they can teach us about planet formation
  4. Explain and discuss the origins and evolution of our Solar System
  5. Use problem solving skills to explain and synthesise solutions to problems in planetary science
  6. Design and create a research project on an astronomy topic, assessing and critiquing
  7. current knowledge, using credible sources of astronomical information, data and research articles.
  • Assignment — Newsgroups (30%)
  • Project (50%)
  • Test — Online tests x 2 (20%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • HET620 — Planetary Science

Mandatory prerequisites

You must have successfully completed the following unit(s) before starting this unit:

If you have completed equivalent study at another university, please contact a Student Advisor for advice.

In order to enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into one of the following courses:

Please visit the course details page and read the Requirements tab for more information about eligibility.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1An introduction to the interdisciplinary field of planetary science
2Orbital dynamics: 2, 3 and N-body problems; perturbations and resonances; tides; dissipative forces
3Solar heating and radiative equilibrium
4Planetary atmospheres: thermal structure, composition, meteorology, photochemistry, escape
5Planetary surfaces: morphology, mineralogy, cratering
6Planetary interiors: modelling internal structure, terrestrials and giants
7Magnetospheres: dipole magnetic fields, plasma, planetary magnetospheres
8Debris: meteorites, asteroids, comets and planetary rings
9Planet formation and the origin of the Solar System

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Embedded Multimedia
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Planetary Sciences

    By:Imke de Pater & Jack J. Lissau

    ISBN: 9781107091610


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

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