2018 Advanced Earth and Space Sciences A

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Earth and Planetary Sciences
Nakamoto Taishi  Nomura Hideko  Sato Bunei  Okuzumi Satoshi  Brasser Ramon 
Course component(s)
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue7-8(石実1-103, Ishikawadai Bldg. 2, (Laboratory Bldg.)103 room)  Fri7-8(石実1-103, Ishikawadai Bldg. 2, (Laboratory Bldg.)103 room)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

Formation of planets, extra-solar planets, solar system, and extra-solar planetary systems, is an interesting question. In order to understand the front line of planetary system formation studies, we look at basics of planetary system formation theory.

Student learning outcomes

To understand basics of planetary sciences and planetary system formation processes.


Planetary System Formation, Planetary Sciences, Astronomy, Astrophysics

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Lessons from #1 to #7 are given by R. Brasser (ELSI) in English, from #8 to #14 are given by T. Nakamoto (EPS) in English and Japanese, and #15 (English) is given by the two people.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction: Diversity of planets (given by Brasser in English) In this lesson the students will learn about our planetary system, rocky exoplanets, gas dwarfs, ice giants, gas giants and other planets. It will also cover the famous Drake equation.
Class 2 Basic properties of the terrestrial planets in the solar system (given by Brasser in English) This lesson deals with the composition, interior structure, magnetic fields, water, atmospheres, sizes, masses of the terrestrial planets. We'll highlight differences and diversity and couple this back to exoplanets.
Class 3 Overview of the giant planets in the solar system (given by Brasser in English) In this lesson we discuss the properties of the giant planets, their rings, satellites and so forth.
Class 4 Satellites of all shapes and sizes (given by Brasser in English) The solar system is riddled with satellites that show an immense diversity. After giving an overview we will individually discuss Earth's Moon, Io, Europa, Enceladus, Titan, Triton and other moons that are interesting in same way.
Class 5 Brief overview of cosmochemistry (given by Brasser in English) This very brief introduction will focus on U-Pb dating, how stable isotopes help with identifying meteorites and the r-process s-process of nucleosynthesis. We also mention short-lived radionuclides such as 26Al.
Class 6 What makes a planet suitable for life? (given by Brasser in English) This is a long-standing question. We discuss the role of water, atmosphere, time, free energy and the UV rays from the young star.
Class 7 Search for life in the universe (given by Brasser in English) This is a generalization of what aspects are needed to make a planet habitable and how we would go about identifying such a planet.
Class 8 Star formation (given by Nakamoto in English/Japanese) We shall discuss the Jeans Instability the timescale of molecular cloud collapse, protoplanetary disk formation, angular momentum transfer to the star and spectral types.
Class 9 Properties of protoplanetary disks (given by Nakamoto in English/Japanese) All planets form from disks. We shall discuss their density and temperature distributions, evolution, the effect of magnetic fields, dead zones, gravitational stability and how this leads to planet formation.
Class 10 The role of dust in planet formation: planetesimal formation (given by Nakamoto in English/Japanese) This lesson deals with dust coagulation, motion, physical properties of dust aggregates, planetesimal formation and the physics of how planetesimals are formed from dust particles.
Class 11 Asteroids, comets, meteorites (given by Nakamoto in English/Japanese) This lesson is an overview of the diversity of small bodies in the solar system. We shall mention the Hayabusa 2 mission at Ryugu, the properties of comets, asteroid Itokawa and the dichotomy of the composition of the asteriod belt.
Class 12 Planetary Sciences and Earth Sciences (given by Nakamoto in English/Japanese) Japan Geoscience Union Meeting
Class 13 Terrestrial and rocky planet formation (given by Nakamoto in English/Japanese) This lesson deals with how the rocky planets formed. We shall discuss the timescale, building blocks, growth modes, protoplanets that form the Earth and Venus, isolation mass, giant impacts and so forth.
Class 14 Giant planet formation (given by Nakamoto in English/Japanese) How did the giant planets form? We shall discuss core accretion, how the envelopes were accreted, general aspects of gas accretion, planet migration in the disc and try to summarise how the solar system ended up with only two gas giants.
Class 15 Q & A (in English/Japanese) In this lesson we let the students ask us questions to further their understanding.



Reference books, course materials, etc.

● Shin Taiyoukei, S. Ida and T. Nakamoto (in Japanese),
● Wakusei Keisei no Butsuri, S. Ida and T. Nakamoto (in Japanese),
● Keigai Wakusei, S. Ida (in Japanese),
● Planetary Sciences, I. de Pater and J. Lissauer,
● Astrophysics of Planet Formation, P. Armitage

Assessment criteria and methods

Homework assignments: 100%

Related courses

  • EPS.A411 : Astrophysics and Planetary Physics B
  • EPS.A412 : Astrophysics and Planetary Physics C
  • EPS.A413 : Astrophysics and Planetary Physics D

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)



Lessons from #1 to #7 are given by R. Brasser (ELSI) in English, from #8 to #14 are given by T. Nakamoto (EPS) in English and Japanese, and #15 (English) is given by the two people.

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