Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

ses # Topics
1 Organization/Introduction
2 Overview of the Solar System
3 Overview of the Solar System (cont.)
4 The Sun
5 Celestial Mechanics
6 Celestial Mechanics (cont.)

7 Exam 1
8 Planetary Formation
9 Other Planetary Systems
10 Meteorites
11 Asteroids
12 Comets
13 Exam 2
14 Planetary Interiors
15 Planetary Interiors (cont.)
16 Planetary Surfaces
17 Planetary Surfaces (cont.)
18 Planetary Surfaces (cont.)
19 Satellites/Icy Bodies
20 Exam 3
21 Planetary Atmospheres
22 Planetary Atmospheres (cont.)
23 Planetary Atmospheres (cont.)
24 Life in the Solar System
25 Mars Exploration
26 Review Session


Required Texts

Hartmann, W. K. Moons and Planets. Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2004. ISBN: 9780534493936.

Beatty, J. K., et al. The New Solar System. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780521645874.

Reading Assignments

Reading assignments in the readings section are to be completed prior to class in the indicated sessions.


Discussion of homework problems with your classmates and TA is permitted and encouraged, but you must turn in your own work. Copying constitutes academic dishonesty. Homework is due at the beginning of class, in the sessions mentioned in the assignments section. Late homework problems not accepted.

Grading Policy

Regular Exams

There will be three exams during the semester, each comprising 15% of your final grade. Exams will emphasize topics presented in lecture. However, any material in the assigned reading is fair game.

Final Exam

There will be a final exam covering all of the material during the semester. Emphasis will be on a synthesis of the subject material. Your previous exams will be your best guide to the most important topics.


There will be regular homework problem sets, averaging about 1 per week.

Attendance and Class Participation

Occasional attendance will be taken. Class participation by everyone is encouraged!

Activities Percentages
Regular Exams 45%
Final Exam 35%
Homework 20%
Attendance and Class Participation -2% to +2% of your final grade

Absence Policy

Missed Homework Deadlines

Late homework problems not accepted. Grade = 0.
Strict Policy: Exception requires written medical excuse or Dean's office letter.

Make-up Exams

None given. Grade = 0.
Strict Policy: Exception requires written medical excuse or Dean's office letter.

What to Do if You are Absent from an Exam or Miss a Homework Deadline

Not necessary to phone/email Professor or TA. It is your responsibility to obtain a written medical excuse or an Explained Absence letter from the Dean's Office. Present to Professor at the beginning of the next attended class period.
Strict Policy: Professor will not grant an excuse without one of the above.

Academic Dishonesty

Copying of homework problems and discussion of exams when you have obtained an excused absence is considered academic dishonesty. Suspected cases will be immediately submitted to the Committee on Discipline.