Physics of Planetary Systems

10 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1FA226

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Physics A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 15 April 2011
Responsible department
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Entry requirements

120 credits including 30 credits in mathematics and 60 credits in physics.

Learning outcomes

After passing the course the student should be able to

  • identify and explain the physical processes that are thought to govern the formation of planetary systems in connection with star formation, and provide an outline of the structure and evolution of planets
  • identify and explain similarities and differences between our solar system and extrasolar planetary systems
  • explain the nature of the minor bodies in the solar system, their formation and evolution, and their mutual relationships
  • account for dynamical and collisional processes which affect planets and minor bodies, as well as how these processes govern the evolution of planetary systems
  • evaluate new developments in the research on our solar system as one of many in the Milky Way galaxy, including the observed properties of other planetary systems


The dynamics of planetary systems. The formation of the Solar System including the physics of accretion discs around protostars, and the physics and chemistry of the solar nebula. Meteorites, and their testimony of the formation and evolution of the Solar System. The small bodies of the Solar System. Planets and their satellite and ring systems. Collisional processes in the Solar System. Extrasolar planetary systems and associated dust and gas disks.


Lectures, seminars and problem sets.


Oral and written presentations of seminar topics (4 credits), oral and written

presentation of individual essay topic (4 credits), project work in groups and

subsequent report (2 credits).