ASTR 688 S

Formation and Evolution of the Solar System

Course Description

The spectacular recent discoveries of planets around a pulsar, of the missing link between big planets and small stars, and of a "Jupiter" orbiting dangerously close to a sun-like star have demonstrated that extraterrestrial solar systems need not closely resemble our own. Yet processes governing the origin and evolution of solar systems strongly constrain the possible forms that such systems eventually take. In this course we will investigate the various dynamical processes that have sculpted our solar system in an effort to understand how it has attained its current state. In studying these fundamental processes, we will draw parallels between the solar system, satellite systems of the giant planets, and other solar systems. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on understanding the dynamic and compositional states of the planets, satellites, rings, comets, asteroids, and dust which comprise our own solar system.

The course is open to graduate and upper level undergraduate students with a good physics and/or astronomy background. Please contact Doug Hamilton with any questions.

Rough Outline of the Course

What's Out There


Early Solar System History

Late Solar System History