2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue
PHYS3281 Star and Planet Formation
15 creditsClass Size: 70
Module manager: Dr Catherine Walsh
Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable
Year running 2019/20
Module replacesPHYS 3280 Star and Planet Formation
This module is not approved as a discovery module
Module summaryStars and their surrounding planetary systems form from material within large, cold, and dense molecular clouds found throughout the interstellar medium. The study of the physical processes underpinning the formation of stars and planets is fundamental for understanding the origin of the mass distribution of stars in galaxies, the formation of our Solar System, and potential sources of the vast diversity of extra-solar planetary systems now known to be orbiting nearby stars in the Milky Way. This module will instruct on the physics governing i) the formation of stars, ii) the impact of young stars on their immediate environment, and iii) the birth and evolution of (exo)planetary systems. Also covered will be current knowledge based on observations across multiple wavelengths from state-of-the-art telescopes.
ObjectivesBy the end of this module students should be able to:
- describe the sites of star formation;
- explain the physical processes occurring during the collapse of a gas cloud to form a star;
- recognise and describe the observational evidence for discs, jets, and outflows from young stars;
- elucidate the routes to planet formation from circumstellar discs;
- appraise the limits of current knowledge in this field.
Make effective use of physics skills and knowledge to applications in Astrophysics.
The ability to solve physical problems using mathematics.
I. Sites of Star Formation: the interstellar medium, molecular clouds, interstellar dust.
II. Gravitational Collapse: cloud equilibrium and stability, the collapse of dense cloud cores, fragmentation, protostars, accretion discs.
III. Feedback: jets, molecular outflows, HII regions, triggered star formation.
IV. Planet Formation: protoplanetary discs, disc evolution, the formation of the Solar System, models of planet formation, exoplanets.
|Delivery type||Number||Length hours||Student hours|
|Private study hours||117.00|
|Total Contact hours||33.00|
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)||150.00|
Private study- reading
- practice problems
- practice derivations
- workshop preparation
- discussion class preparation
Opportunities for Formative FeedbackUnseen exam
Methods of assessment
|Exam type||Exam duration||% of formal assessment|
|Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)||2 hr 30 mins||100.00|
|Total percentage (Assessment Exams)||100.00|
Reading listThe reading list is available from the Library website
Last updated: 30/04/2018
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