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PYU44A01 Cosmology, Planetary and Space Science

Michaelmas Term, Hilary Term – 44 lectures/tutorials – 10 credits – (P. Gallagher, A. Vidotto, B. Espey)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Describe the observed properties of the solar system
  • Estimate the initial mass of the solar system using solar nebula theory
  • Explain in detail the main solar system formation theories
  • Derive the equations responsible for the stability of planetary atmospheres and magnetospheres
  • Explain the physics of the Sun and solar wind
  • Explain the main exoplanet detection techniques and the physical information we derive from these observations
  • Achieve the learning outcomes of the Cosmology module PYU44A05


Part I: Planetary and Space Science
This course starts with a detailed review of the solar interior and energy transport mechanisms in the radiative and convection zone. The solar atmosphere is then discussed, focusing on the physics of the photosphere, chromosphere, transition region and corona. A detailed derivation of Parker's theories of the solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field is given. Finally, we focus on the interaction of the solar wind with planetary magnetospheres and other objects in the solar system. Formation of our solar system, denizens of our solar system, discovery of extra-solar planets and planetary systems.

Part II: Cosmology
The syllabus for this part of the course is given in the following entry for Cosmology PYU44A05.

Proposed Assessment


Examination in Planetary and Space Science


Continuous Assessment in Planetary and Space Science


Examination in Cosmology  


Continuous Assessment in Cosmology