ASTR 620: Galaxies


Projects will culminate in a ten minute oral presentation by each student on a topic of your choosing. Please consult with me on your choice of topic; once these are settled I will make up a schedule. Presentations will occur at the end of the semseter (sometime in December).

Take a look at the lists below for topic ideas. Another good way to get ideas is to scan the journals and preprint server astro-ph. Ideally, you should pick a paper, read and comprehend it and any necessary references, and then present the result as if it were your own work. Which I encourage you to make it, in part, by utilizing the electronic data resources which are available.

We live at a time when an increasing amount of data is available on-line, often from very large, homogeneous surveys. This will impact the way in which science is, and can be, done. Becoming familiar with the available resources, and mastering their use, is an essential skill.

The semester project affords the opportunity for you to use these electronic data resource to investigate a topic of your choosing. I encourage you to do something with the data available on-line, but it will suffice to have only a literature component (i.e., a journal club-like report).

You will report your finding to the class in an oral presentation ten minutes in duration.

Once you have settled on a topic, come discuss it with me. Part of the assignment is to write an abstract to be distributed to your classmates (about a week before the presentations)..


NED: The NASA Extragalactic Database
SDSS: The Sloan Digital Sky Survey
2Mass: The 2Mass InfraRed Sky Survey - a variety of catalogs, including the extended source server
STScI: Space Telescope Science Institute
Deep Surveys: HDF | HDF South | GOODS | UDF
DSS: The Digitized Palomar Sky Survey
Starburst99: Population synthesis
Nearby Galaxy Spectra
MAST: Multimission Archive at Space Telescope
Lambda: Archive of mm-wave observations (dust, synchrotron, & free-free emission in the Milky Way). Includes data from WMAP & COBE.
VIRGO: Dark Matter Simulations


Examples of potential topics might be These are just a few possibilities off the top of my head.
It is a big universe - the possibilities are endless!

Further ideas for topics

dwarf galaxies
giant (Malin) galaxies
origin of S0 galaxies: ``nature'' versus ``nurture''
boxy bulge - stellar bar connection
Galactic reddening determinations: descendants of the cosec law
Optical depth of spiral galaxies and realistic dust distributions
phases of the ISM and their distribution in our Galaxy
the distribution of HI and CO gas in spiral galaxies
interacting galaxies in the local universe
globular clusters in external galaxies
formation of globular clusters
the Hipparcus satellite and our knowledge of Galactic structure and evolution
Milky Way Mass determinations
dynamics of the Local Group
the Magellanic stream and its significance for the total mass of the Milky Way
dynamics of the Local Supercluster
the Great Attractor
X-ray properties of clusters of galaxies
computer simulations of merging galaxies
computer simulations of the evolution of clusters of galaxies
numerical simulations of stellar systems: N-body, Fourier method, SPH, etc.
ultraluminous infrared galaxies: the starburst - quasar connection
mass determinations from gravitational lensing
Lyman alpha absorption line clouds
the HST key project on quasar hosts
the HST key project on the extragalactic distance scale
distance determinations: surface brightness fluctuations, globular clusters, planetary nebulae, supernovae...
faint blue galaxies
the Hubble Deep Fields
the MACHO project
the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect and its applications for the extragalactic distance scale
the extragalactic X-ray background
the extragalactic far-infrared background
the global star formation history of the universe
galaxy formation

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