Astro 250: Super Earths Graduate Seminar

Fall 2005 Class / reading assignment schedule

Mondays 5:00-7:00pm, 544 Campbell Hall, UC Berkeley




544 Campbell Hall


Note: The front doors of Campbell Hall are locked after 5pm, so if you do not have a key, you must arrive promptly at 5pm to get in.

Monday, August 29
Organizational Meeting
Hand out of textbooks by Stacey and by Poirier

TUESDAY, September 6 (no monday meeting):
   "Super Earths Exist"
Student lead: Jason Wright

Reading: Rivera, E.J. et al., "A ~7.5 Earth-Mass Planet Orbiting the Nearby Star GJ 876", submitted to Astrophysical Journal (2005) (pdf size 1M)


Monday, September 12:
     "A Crash Course in Earth Interior Physics"
Student lead: Taylor, Sarah, and Stewart

Reading 1: Stacey's textbook, "Physics of the Earth" (handed out August 29):

  • Composition: Section 1.4.1, 1.4.4
  • Isostasy: Section 3.5.2: only pages 140, 141, 144 starting with equation (3.154). Be sure to understand Figure 3.20b
  • Seismic waves: SKIM sections 5.1 - 5.2.3, and SKIM 5.3.3
  • Earth models: Sections 5.4.1 - 5.4.2, and 5.4.4
  • Mantle convection: Sections 6.1 - 6.6.2, but SKIP 6.4.3. Be sure to understand equations (6.19), (6.20), (6.40), and Table 6.4
Reading 2: Poirier's textbook, "Introduction to the Physics of the Earth" (handed out August 29) :
  • Sections 7.1, 7.2.1, 7.3.1, 7.3.2 to the bottom of page 234


Monday, September 19:
     "A Crash Course in Planet Formation: The Need for Small Bodies "
Student lead: Linda

Reading: Goldreich, Lithwick, & Sari, Part 1 of 2 "Planet Formation by Coagulation: A Focus on Uranus and Neptune", Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics (2004), v42 (pdf size 434K)

  • All of Section 1
  • All of Section 2
  • Section 3.1 - 3.2
  • Section 4.1 - 4.2
  • Section 5.2.2
  • Section 6.1 - 6.4

Monday, September 26:
     "A Crash Course in Planet Formation: Fast Oligarchy and Ejection"

Student lead: Ruth

Reading: Goldreich, Lithwick, & Sari, Part 2 of 2, "Planet Formation by Coagulation: A Focus on Uranus and Neptune," Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics (2004), v42 (pdf size 434K)

  • Section 3.3 - 3.4
  • Section 6.5
  • Section 7.2
  • Section 7.3.1
  • Section 7.3.2
  • SKIM Section 7.3.3
  • Section 7.3.4
  • All of Section 8
  • Sections 9.1 - 9.2
  • SKIM Section 9.3
  • All of Section 10 (but skip derivation of equation 102)
  • All of Section 11 (but skip derivation of equation 110)
  • All of Section 12

Monday, October 3
   "State of the Equation of State, Part I"
Visiting lecturer: Michael Manga will offer an insider's insight.

Reading: Schubert, Turcotte, and Olsen's textbook "Mantle Convection in the Earth and Planets". Photocopies of this reading are available in the yellow folder hanging outside Eugene Chiang's office, 511 Campbell Hall.

  • Section 5.1.1 - 5.1.6 (pages 212 - 216)
  • Section 5.9 (pages 240 - 250)
  • Section 13.2 (pages 587 - 591)
  • OPTIONAL 13.5 (pages 617 - 625)
  • Tabor's "Solid's, Liquids, and gases" supplemental reading (can be found on E. Chiang's office door)


Monday, October 10
   "State of the Equation of State, Part II"
Student lead: Wren

Reading 3: Leger, A., et al., "A New Family of Planets: Ocean Planets", Icarus (2004), 169: 499L (pdf size 278K)

Monday, October 17
   "Formation of Gas Giants: Critical Core Accretion"
Student lead: Alyssa

Reading 1: Stevenson, D., "Formation of the Giant Planets", Planetary & Space Science (1981), v30, no. 8: 755-764 (pdf size 1013K)
Focus on pages 755-757 and especially on pages 761-763.

Reading 2: SKIM Sato et. al. (2005), "A Transiting Hot Saturn Around HD 149026 with a Large Dense Core" (astro-ph/0507009) (pdf size 350K)


Monday, October 24
   "The Only Way Out is In, Part I"
Student lead: TBA

Reading 1: Solomon, S. (1979) "Formation, History, and Energetic of Cores in the Terrestrial Planets", Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 19, 168-179 (pdf size 1557k)

Reading 2: Stevenson, D. (2001) on "Mars' Core and Magnetism",
Nature, 412, 214-218
(pdf size 458k)

Monday, October 31, HALLOWEEN
   "The Only Way Out is In, Part II"
NOTE: Class meets early- 4:00 - 6:00pm, 544 Campbell Hall
Lecturer: Raymond Jeanloz will provide mini-lecture on previous week's article and leads subsequent discussion.

Reading: Jeanloz, R., "The Nature of the Earth's Core" Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences (1990), 18: 357-386 (pdf size 2.8M)

Monday, November 7
Visiting Lecturer: Diana Valencia will provide a mini-lecture and lead the subsequent discussion.

Reading: Valencia, Connell, and Sasselov, "Internal Structure of Massive Terrestrial Planets".(pdf size 1.5M)

Monday, November 14
Visiting Lecturer: Vicki Meadows will provide a mini-lecture and lead the subsequent discussion.

Reading: recommendation by Vikki Meadows on terrestrial atmospheres. Possibly either: Prinn, R.G., "Origin and Evolution of Planetary Atmospheres: An Introduction to the Problem", Planetary and Space Science (1982), 30: 741-753. (pdf size 1.5M)

Monday, November 21
   "Water, Water Nowhere"
Student lead: Mike Fitzgerald

Reading: Kasting and Pollack, "Loss of Water from Venus I. Hydrodynamic Escape of Hydrogen" Icarus (1983), 53: 479-508 (pdf size 1.9M)


Monday, November 28
   "Water, Water Everywhere"
Student lead: Arianna Gleason

Reading 1: Morbidelli, A. et al., "Source Regions and Timescales for the Delivery of Water on Earth", Meteoritics (2000), 35: 1309-1320 (pdf size 2.3M)

Reading 2: Raymond, S., Quinn, T., Lunine, J., "Making other earths: dynamical simulations of terrestrial planet formation and water delivery", Icarus (2004), 168: 1-17 (pdf size 666K)

Monday, December 5
   "The Optimists"
Student lead: TBA

Reading: Kepler Mission: Koch, David, "A Model for Estimating the Number of Stars for which Terrestrial Planets Can Be Detected Using Transits" IAU Symposium 213 Bioastronomy 2002, Life Among the Stars (2002), Great Barrier Reef Australia :July 2002, ASP Conf Series, in press (pdf size 121K)

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For questions about the readings, contact Geoff Marcy or Eugene Chiang.

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