Collisions in Space

Fall 2003

For basic course information, surf here.

NOTICE TO VISITORS: Material on this website is Copyright © 2003 by Derek C. Richardson and must not be reproduced without my express permission.

What's New?

  • 12/11: REMINDER: Final Exam Dec 15 at 8 am!
  • 12/11: HW#4 solutions added. Final exam review sheet posted.
  • 12/03: Class #25 notes added. Guest lecturer (Chris Reynolds) 12/09!
  • 12/02: Class #24 notes added.
  • 11/25: HW#3 solutions added. Quiz & solutions posted. Happy holidays!
  • 11/24: Class #23 notes and homework #4 added. Outline tweaked one last time.
  • 11/20: Class #22 notes added (no movies).
  • 11/19: Outline tweaked.
  • 11/19: Added new link (NASA Planetary Photojournal) -- check it out!
  • 11/18: REMINDER: Quiz Nov 25!
  • 11/18: Class #21 notes added.
  • 11/12: Class #20 notes added.
  • 11/11: Class #19 notes added.



The complete syllabus is available in HTML, PDF, or Postscript format. Some useful excerpts:

Lectures:Tuesday, Thursday 11h00-12h15, CSS 2400
Required Text:Powell, Night Comes to the Cretaceous (1998)
Recommended Text:Bennett et al., The Cosmic Perspective (any edition)
Professor:Dr. Derek C. Richardson
Office:CSS 1249
Office Hours:After class most days, by appointment, or drop by
Teaching Assistant:Raquel Fraga-Encinas
Office:CSS 0252
Office Hours:TBA

Note: The syllabus documents are unchanged from the start of classes.
Check this page for any syllabus updates.


Course Outline

Click on the links (where available) for the lecture notes.
(Note movies are not included.)

Images in the notes were collected from a variety of internet and private sources,
including Freedman & Kaufmann, Universe, 6th Edition (2002).


#1Sep. 2Introduction to the course [ppt]
#2 4The structure and formation of the solar system [ppt]
#3 9Craters in the solar system [ppt] Preface & Prologue
#4 11The physics of collisions and crater formation [ppt]
#5 16The Earth's Moon [ppt] Chapters 1-3
-- 18Cancelled: Hurricane Isabel!
#6 23The nature of modern impactors: Comets and asteroids [ppt] Chapters 4-7
#7 25Two spectacular cases: SL9 and Tunguska [ppt]
#8 30Geological ages, life on Earth, and mass extinctions [ppt]
#9Oct. 2The K-T impact (the Alvarez theory) [ppt] Chapters 8-10
#10 7Other mass extinctions [ppt]
#11 9Nova episode ("The Doomsday Asteroid") and TLC excerpt ("Crater of Death")
#12 14Night Comes to the Cretaceous: In-class book discussion Chapters 11-13
#13 16Future impacts and assessment of risk [ppt]
#14 21Pre-exam review
-- 23Midterm Exam
#15 28Introduction to stars: The Sun [ppt]
#16 30Other stars [ppt]
#17Nov. 4Stellar evolution, Part I [ppt]
#18 6Stellar evolution, Part II [ppt]
#19 11The EM spectrum and the discovery of compact objects [ppt]
#20 13The Milky Way [ppt]
#21 18Other galaxies [ppt]
#22 20Galaxy collisions & galaxy formation [ppt]
#23 25The mass of galaxies and the need for dark matter [ppt]
-- 27Thanksgiving!
#24Dec. 2Supermassive black holes [ppt]
#25 4Active galactic nuclei [ppt]
#26 9Wormholes and timewarps (guest lecture)
#27 11Discussion and class review

Final Exam: Monday, Dec. 15, 2003, 08h00-10h00, CSS 2400
(check here for the official version)



1Sep 9Sep 25handout [doc]solns [doc]
2Sep 25Oct 9handout [doc]solns [doc]
3Nov 4Nov 18handout [doc]solns [doc]
4Nov 25Dec 9handout [doc]solns [doc]

Remember: Homework must be readable, stapled, and signed.
Show all your work! Late homework will be penalized.


Old Exams

Midterm 2003 HTMLdoc HTMLdoc
Final 2003 HTMLdoc HTMLdoc
(solutions available by request)



Handouts given in class:

Handout #1Physical properties of the planets [doc]
Handout #2Formation of the solar system [doc]
Handout #3Energy and impacts [doc]
Handout #4Proportionalities and ratios [doc]

Quizzes given in class:

Quiz #1Quiz [doc]; solutions [doc]
Quiz #2Quiz [doc]; solutions [doc]

The Observatory Open House takes place in the evening on the 5th and 20th of every month.
Typically there is a popular lecture followed by viewing through the telescopes. Check it out!


Useful Links


Last modified: Dec 11, 2003 DCR