AAS 195th Meeting, January 2000
Session 106. Education
Display, Saturday, January 15, 2000, 9:20am-4:00pm, Grand Hall

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[106.12] Undergraduate Astronomy Laboratory Software: Planetary Atmosphere Evolution

D.G. Luttermoser (East Tenn.\ State Univ.)

A computer simulation software package has been developed to evolve planetary atmospheres from their formation through whatever time period the user inputs. Required initial inputs are the spectral class of the star (main sequence stars are assumed) and its chemical abundance, the distance that the planet is from the star, along with the radius, mass, and albedo of the planet. Characteristics of the Earth and Sun are loaded as defaults upon start-up. Once the input is complete, the user clicks on the ``EVOLVE'' button to start the calculations. As the calculations progress, a bar chart shows the relative abundance of important molecules (eg., H2, CO2, etc.) and the thickness of the atmosphere is continually updated. Should conditions warrant, a box will indicate if lifeforms have come into existence. The user can ``PAUSE'' the evolution at any time through the maximum inputed time. The goal of this program is to teach students that the structure of planetary atmospheres result from their initial conditions, change over time, and that the formation of life is a natural occurrence without need for magic. Two versions of this software exist, one written in Visual Basic and the other in IDL. Both will be freely available off of the Web at http://www.etsu.edu/physics/.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.etsu.edu/physics/dglhome/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: lutter@etsu.edu

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