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Planetary Systems

The course gives an overview of planetary systems and the physical processes responsible for the exceptional diversity observed in planets both in our own solar system and in planetary systems around other stars.

Infrared image of Beta Pictoris.
Infrared image of Beta Pictoris. Credit: ESO/A.-M. Lagrange et al.

In this course you will study how planetary systems are shaped, including how planets move around and interact, how geophysical processes and collisions shape the planetary surfaces, and how the interiors of planets differentiate and give rise to atmospheres due to outgassing. You will explore the variety of celestial objects in the solar system and gain insight into their formation and evolution. Looking beyond the solar system, you will learn how to detect and characterise planets around other stars. Using insights gained from solar system planets, you will get a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, the diversity of observed exoplanets.


  • Course structure

    The course is given during daytime at 50% of full time, and is a course within the Master’s programme in Astronomy. It can also be taken as a free-standing course. The course is given in English.


    Teaching format

    Instruction is given in the form of interactive lectures, where typically the first half of a lecture is a summary of the topic of the lecture, and the second half is dedicated to an application of the topic in the form of guided problem solving. Participation in lectures is recommended but not mandatory.


    Alexis Brandeker. Correspondence via the course page in Athena.


    Assessment will be through hand-ins and presentations.



    Alexis Brandeker


  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Imke de Pater & Jack Lissauer: Planetary Sciences, Cambridge University Press, Updated Second Edition 2015, ISBN 9781107091610.

  • Contact

    The academic advisor and student office can be contacted via