ASTR 688P: Planetary Science
Homework Assignment 1
Fall 2008

Prof. M. F. A'Hearn
Due: Thu, 11 Sept 2008

Problems from textbook, chapter 1

  1. problem 1.3. It is easiest to work in angular velocity. For part e it is ok to use the series expansion for (1 + ε )n.
  2. problem 1.4
  3. problem 1.5

Problems not from textbook

  1. For more than a decade, there has been controversy in the community of planetary scientists about whether Pluto should be considered primarily as a planet or primarily as the prototype of Kuiper-belt objects. Write a short (2-3 single-spaced pages) essay on this topic. Useful references include two papers, from very different viewpoints, in Highlights of Astronomy (2002, vol 12), based on the Manchester meeting of the IAU in 2000, by A'Hearn (pp201-204; manuscript at / and by Stern and Levison (pp205-213; link via ADS). There is also an interim report in the IAU's Transactions (2008 vol 26A, p189). Also read the blog by Mike Brown at , including the part he calls a moderately technical paper. Most recently, check out "The Great Planet Debate" at