AST 7939/AST 4930: Extrasolar Planets 

Fall 2016   

Instructor: Prof. Jian Ge

Office: Room 304 Bryant Space Science Center


Tel: 352-294-1850

TAs: Sirinrat Sithajan & Han Zhang

Office hours: 3-5pm every Wednesday or make an appointment by an email

ASTRO 7939/AST 4930 will cover topics related to extra-solar planets including observation, instrumentation (mainly detection techniques) and theory.  The goals are to help students to understand exoplanet properties and characteristics, and detection and characterization techniques, develop physical intuition and research skills that are applicable beyond this course and to stimulate student’s interest in exoplanet research and make students aware of future research opportunities. 

 AST 7939/AST 4930 Lecture Note Web Page (Contact Prof. Jian Ge for password)

 AST 7939/AST 4930 Reference Web Page (same as the lecture note website)

Content of AST 7939/AST 4930

        •Observation techniques: radial velocity, transit, direct imaging, micro-lensing and others
        •Giant planet properties
        •Low mass planet properties
        •Multiple planetary systems
        •Planets in binaries and clusters
        •Orbital migration
        •Planet formation: core accretion and gravitational instability
        •Future directions on planet detection and characterization
        •RV orbital fitting practice
        •Transit signal extraction practice
        •Open discussions
        •Student’s presentations


The course will consist typically of three lectures per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1:55-2:45 pm in room 3 of Bryant Space Science Center, and other time (10:40-11:30am Monday or Friday) may be used for makeup classes. Class discussion is important part of class activities.

In addition to attending classes and getting involved in discussions, students will be expected to complete a few homework, one observation proposal due on Nov. 21st and one term paper due on Dec. 7th. The term paper will be on a subject chosen by the student and approved by the instructors by the end of the 9th week (Oct. 21st).   The paper will be 5/4 pages (excluding figures and references), typed and single-spaced with font 11 or 12, plus references, figures and tables for a  graduate student/undergraduate student. The topic and abstract or outline must be submitted electronically through an email to Prof. Ge and the paper must be submitted electronically by Dec. 7th 2016. Each student is expected to give an in 10-min class presentation of their term paper during the last five lectures.  No exams will be given.


There is no formal text for this course.  The vast majority of readings will be available via arxiv and/or UF's electronic journal subscriptions. However, we recommend several books as references.

 •Protostars and Planets V, Editors: Reipurth, Jewitt and Keil


 •Explanets, detection, formation, properties, habitability, Editor: Jon Mason


 Tentative Schedule

Aug. 24 (W)

1. Organization/introduction

Aug. 26 (F)

Aug. 26 (F)

2. Introduction (10:40-11:30am, makeup)

3. Doppler techniques: cross-dispersed echelle spectroscopy

Aug. 29 (M) 4. cross-dispersed echelle spectroscopy (10:40-11:30amm, makeup)
Aug. 29 (M) 5. Doppler techniques: dispersed fixed-delay interferometry
Aug. 31 (W) 6. Doppler techniques: dispersed fixed-delay interferometry
Sept. 2 (F) no class
Sept. 5 (M) Labor day weekend (no class)
Sept. 7 (W) RV planet practice class (Sirinrat Sithajan)

Sept. 9 (F)

Graduate symposium (no class)

Sept. 12 (M)

RV planet practice class (Sirinrat Sithajan)

Sept. 14 (W)

RV planet practice class (Sirinrat Sithajan)
Sept. 16 (F) 7. RV instrument calibration

Sept. 19 (M)

8. Next generation RV surveys

Sept. 21 (W)

9. Doppler planet surveys around M dwarfs and young stars

Sept. 23 (F) 10. New development of calibration sources for RV method

Sept. 26 (M)

11. Summary of Doppler planet survey results on giant planets

Sept. 28 (W) 12. Summary of Doppler planet survey results

Sept. 30 (F)

13. Planet formation and evolution

Oct. 3 (M)

14. Planet migration and eccentricity evolution

Oct. 5 (W)

15. Observation techniques: transit method

Oct. 7 (F) 16. Transit method

Oct. 10 (M)

Transit planet practice class (Han Zhang)

Oct. 12 (W)

Transit planet practice class (Han Zhang)

Oct. 14 (F) Homecoming (no class)
Oct. 17 (M) Transit planet practice class (Han Zhang)

Oct. 19 (W)

17. Transit planet discoveries

Oct. 21 (F) 18. Transit planet discoveries

Oct. 24 (M)

19. Transit planet atmosphere

Oct. 26 (W)

20. Transit planet atmosphere

Oct. 28 (F) 21. Transit planet atmosphere theory

Oct. 31 (M)

22. Direct imaging  exoplanets

Nov. 2 (W)

23.  Direct imaging techniques: classical coronagraph

Nov. 4 (F) 24. Other Direction Imaging Techniques

Nov. 7 (M)

25. Other Direction Imaging Techniques

Nov. 9 (W)

26. High contrast imaging with AO

Nov. 11 (F) Veterans day (no class)

Nov.14 (M)

27. Imaging exoplanet results

Nov. 16 (W)

28. Imaging exoplanet results

Nov. 18 (F)

29. Observation techniques: microlensing

Nov. 21 (M)

30. Microlensing planet results

Nov. 23 (W)

Thanksgiving (no Class)

Nov. 25 (F) Thanksgiving (no Class)
Nov. 28 (M) Student’s presentation
Nov. 30 (W) Student’s presentation

Dec.  2 (F)

Student’s presentation

Dec.  5 (M)

Student’s presentation

Dec. 7 (W)

Student’s presentation