ASTR 620: Galaxies
Stacy McGaugh

Course Outline, Fall 2007
I. Introduction
General Properties of Galaxies
The Hubble Sequence and other morphological classification systems
Review: stars and stellar evolution
Distance scale
  • [B&M 2-7; B&T 1]

    II. Milky Way
    Content: stars, dust, gas
    Stellar luminosity function, initial mass function, birth rate
    Distribution and kinematics of stellar populations in the Milky Way
    Asymmetric drift, Bottlinger diagram
    Disk heating: Spitzer-Schwarzschild mechanism
    Formation Models of our Galaxy
    Chemical evolution
    Stellar population synthesis
  • [B&M 4,5,8,10; B&T 9]

    III. Galactic Rotation and Stellar Dynamics
    Solar motion and the local standard of rest
    Oort constants
    Stellar motions in disk and elliptical potentials
    Rotation curve of our Galaxy
  • [B&T 2,3]

    IV. Mass Discrepancies & Dark Matter
    Rotation and dynamics of external galaxies
    Tully-Fisher relation for spiral galaxies
    Mass determinations and mass-to-light ratios on various scales
    Dark matter candidates
    Halo and Galaxy Formation Models
    Modified Newtonian Dynamics
  • [B&M 11; B&T 10]

    V. Disk Dynamics and Spiral Structure
    Disk stability
    Spiral density wave theory
    Tracers of spiral structure
    Stochastic star formation
  • [B&T 6]

    VI. Elliptical Galaxies
    Equations of stellar hydrodynamics
    Stellar relaxation
    Velocity ellipsoids, triaxiality
    Mass profiles
    Fundamental plane of elliptical galaxies
  • [B&M 11; B&T 2-5]

    VII. Statistical Galaxy Properties
    Galaxy luminosity function
    Bivariate distribution of size and surface brightness
    The dependence of the luminosity function on environment and redshift
  • [B&M 4]

    VIII. Galaxy Evolution and the Effects of Environment
    Galaxy Groups, Clusters, and Environments
    Tidal interactions and mergers
    Dynamical friction, cannibalism, and ram presssure stripping
    Gas content of clusters
    Large Scale Structure
  • [B&M 7-9]

    IX. Galactic Nuclei
    Observational summary of the Galactic center
    Search for dormant black holes in nearby galaxies
    Active galactic nuclei & starbursts
  • [B&M 4]
  • Main texts: Galactic Astronomy by Binney & Merrifield [B&M], Princeton U. Press, 1998, and Galactic Dynamics by Binney & Tremaine [B&T], Princeton U. Press, 1987.

    Other readings: preprints, journal, & review articles as assigned.

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