These themes are concepts that we will return to more than once in different contexts throughout the course. They are good very general staring points for studying for the exams. The chapter highlighted in red is the “chapter of origin” for each concept. The material in later chapters builds on that initial introduction to the topic.

Reading the “Cosmic Connections” pages within the chapters and reviewing the “Key Ideas” section at the end of each chapter in the textbook may also be helpful.

    • What is Science?: Ch. 1,
      in-class Astrology Project, Nature of Science Slides & Exercises


    • Seasons and annual changes in the sky: Ch. 2,
      Observing Project, Seasons lab, Celestial sphere lab



    • Gravity and Planetary Motions: Kepler’s Laws (Ch. 4), Planetary Positions lab, Kepler’s Laws lab, Jupiter’s Moons lab


    • Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation: planetary motions (Ch. 4),
      gravitational accretion (Ch. 7), connection to Tidal forces


    • Spectroscopy and Kirchoff’s Laws: Atoms (Ch. 5), planetary atmospheres (Ch. 9), search for exoplanets (Ch. 7), Spectroscopy lab, Exoplanets lab


    • Tidal forces: tides on Earth (Ch. 4), Mercury’s orbit (Ch. 8), rings of Saturn and other Jovian planets (Ch. 11), internal heating and geological activity on Jovian moons (Ch. 11), connection to Synchronous rotation and orbital resonances


    • Orbital resonances: Cassini division in Saturn’s rings and connection to geological activity on Jovian moons (Ch. 11), Kirkwood gaps in asteroid belt (Ch. 12)


    • Synchronous rotation: Moon’s orbit (Ch. 2,4), Pluto-Charon system (Ch. 11), connection to tidal forces


    • Geological activity: All terrestrial planets (Ch. 8), moons of Jovian planets (Ch. 11), connection to internal heat and the presence of cratering and magnetic fields


    • Impacts and cratering: Terrestrial Planets and Earth’s Moon (Ch. 8),
      meteorites (Ch. 12), Craters lab


    • The Greenhouse effect: Atmospheres of Earth versus Venus versus Mars (Ch. 9), in-class Carbon Footprint project, Greenhouse Effect lab


    • Escape speed: (Ch. 4), planetary atmospheres (p. 262)


    • Convection: geological activity (Ch. 8), weather and storms on terrestrials and Jovian planets (Ch. 9,10)


  • Magnetic fields and dynamos: Earth’s magnetosphere and aurorae (Ch. 9), Mechanisms (liquid iron/nickel vs. metallic hydrogen vs. ionized molecules) and associated knowledge of planetary interiors (Ch. 9,10)