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Course page for Space geodesy - Avaruusgeodesia

Advanced Course, 5 credits, 53857, Spring 2012, Period 4

Lecturers: prof. Karri Muinonen, Dr. Jenni Virtanen, Dr. Mikael Granvik and Dr. Antti Penttilä with assistance by Dr. Jani Tyynelä


The course entitled "Space Geodesy: Advanced Course" aims at providing an in-depth view to the study of the sizes, shapes, rotation, and gravity of Solar System objects at large. The terrestrial planets, the Moon, and the small Solar System objects receive particular attention. The course provides modern and state-of-the-art views to the ongoing research, and includes numerical model development for planetary-system objects.

Space Geodesy: Advanced Course starts with introductory material on the current status of geodesy when generalized to Solar System objects at large as well as an introductory assessment of the physics of rigid bodies in rotation. The course will then evolve into a study of the sizes, shapes, rotation, and gravity of small Solar-System objects. This line of study will culminate in the geodesy of terrestrial planets and the Moon, with a particular assessment of the Earth.

During the course, the student will gain fundamental insight into the mathematics of stochastic geometries, geodesics on arbitrary surfaces, rotation and gravity in systems of irregular objects, motion of satellites in the gravitational fields of irregular objects, as well as the effects of internal density fluctuations on gravity and satellite motion. Inverse problems relating to the determination of size, shape, rotational characteristics, as well as mass are assessed in depth.

Numerical modeling for a planetary-system object is a central part of the course. The student will learn how to represent two-dimensional surfaces using efficient triangulation schemes and how to describe the interior of the objects using efficient hierarchical discretization schemes. The student will then be able to compute the centers of mass as well as the moments and products of inertia, producing a realistic numerical model for a rigid body in rotation.

The student will then proceed to study satellite motion in the gravitational field of the model body using numerical integration schemes. The general approach to modeling allows the student to study the effects of interior density variation on satellite motion.

Lectures and schedule
  • 16.3. Introduction. Slides. (Karri Muinonen)
  • ...
  • 20.4. Visualization and random geometries. Slides (Antti Penttilä).
  • 2.5. and 4.5. Gravitational potential and rotational dynamics. Slides. (Jenni Virtanen).

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