Fall 2011
Fully Enrolled

SCIE 634
Strange New Worlds: Planets, Exoplanets & Stars that Host Them


09/12/2011 - 12/09/2011
Tuesday 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM

Van Vleck Observatory 110

The course begins with an overview of the planets, moons, comets and asteroids that comprise our Solar System. Modern issues such as why Pluto is no longer designated as a planet will be discussed. The regularities of this system will be illuminated and addressed and formation scenarios discussed. From there we will move on to exoplanets -- those orbiting other stars. Their discovery, characterization and diversity will be examined. Special attention will be given to new classes of planets including Hot Jupiters, Water Worlds and Super Earths. Results from the Kepler spacecraft mission will be analyzed. The course will finish with an up-to-date look at star and planet formation, with a special focus on the question "Where did the Earth Come From?" Telescopes at the Van Vleck Observatory will be used, weather permitting, to view some objects of discussion.

Enrollment is limited to 18 students.

This course is open to auditors.

This course is not open to students who have already taken SCIE 634: The New Solar System for credit.

The deadline to withdraw and receive a tuition refund for this course is Friday, September 16 at 5:00 pm. Please visit our website for a complete list of registration and withdrawal dates for this session.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
SCIE 634

This is a tentative syllabus. Check back for updates.

William Herbst, (B.A. Princeton University; M.Sc. University Toronto, Ph.D. University Toronto), is John Monroe Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy and has served as Chair of the Astronomy Department and Director of Van Vleck Observatory. He and his team of students have discovered a sun-like star that is eclipsed in a way never before seen -- not by another star, planet or moon, but by dust grains, rocks and maybe even asteroids orbiting it in a clumpy circumstellar disk. This discovery has received international attention and continues to open new doors in studying the origins and evolution of planets. He is primary or contributing author of more than 250 publications in the astronomical literature, including the recent "Reflected Light from Sand Grains in the Terrestrial Zone of a Protoplanetary Disk" Nature (2008). Click here for more information about William Herbst.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:

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