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Sylvain Veilleux

Course Outline: Spring 2001

I. Introduction (2 lectures)
$\bullet$ General outlook on galaxies
$\bullet$ Morphological classification
$\bullet$ Local Group of Galaxies
$\bullet$ Schechter luminosity function

II. Our Galaxy: stars (3 lectures)
$\bullet$ Galactic distance scale
$\bullet$ Star counts
$\bullet$ Stellar luminosity function, initial mass function
$\bullet$ Distribution and kinematics of stellar populations in the Galaxy
$\bullet$ Disk heating: Spitzer-Schwarzschild mechanism

III. Our Galaxy: interstellar medium (2 lectures)
$\bullet$ Phases of the interstellar medium and their distribution
$\bullet$ Theories for the phases of the ISM

IV. Galactic Rotation (3 lectures)
$\bullet$ Solar motion and the local standard of rest
$\bullet$ Oort constants
$\bullet$ Rotation curve of our Galaxy

V. Disk Galaxies (4 lectures)
$\bullet$ Observational summary
$\bullet$ Stellar motions in disk potentials
$\bullet$ spiral structure
$\bullet$ Spiral density wave theory
$\bullet$ Bars

VI. Elliptical Galaxies (4 lectures)
$\bullet$ Observational summary
$\bullet$ Stellar relaxation
$\bullet$ An introduction to stellar hydrodynamics
$\bullet$ Velocity ellipsoids, triaxiality
$\bullet$ Mass profiles

VII. Galactic Nuclei (4 lectures)
$\bullet$ Observational summary of our Galactic center
$\bullet$ Search for dormant black holes in nearby galaxies
$\bullet$ Active galactic nuclei
$\bullet$ Starburst galaxies

VIII. Galaxy Evolution (5 lectures)
$\bullet$ Chemical evolution
$\bullet$ Tidal interaction and merger
$\bullet$ Dynamical friction, cannibalism, and ram presssure stripping
$\bullet$ Galaxy luminosity function and its dependence on the environment

Web page:$\sim$veilleux/ASTR498G/

Required book: Galaxies in the Universe. An Introduction by Sparke & Gallagher, 2000

Optional books: Galactic Astronomy by Binney & Merrifield, Princeton U. Press, 1998
Galactic Dynamics by Binney & Tremaine, Princeton U. Press, 1987
Galaxies & Galactic Structure by Elmegreen, Prentice-Hall, 1998

Problem sets: 4 or 5 sets during the semester

Term paper: Paper not to exceed 10 single-spaced pages in length (including references & figures). On topic of your choice. see below.

Mid-term and Final Exams: 2-hour, in-class


Homeworks 20%
Term paper 20%
Mid-term exam 25%
Final exam 35%

Possible Topics for Term Paper:

The following list is not meant to be exhaustive. It is simply a list of interesting subjects we won't be able to cover adequately in class. Feel free to select your own idea rather than one of these. The term paper is meant to be a short literature review. For possible material, take a look at the most recent (< 5 years) issues of the ``Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics'' in the Astronomy library. This paper is due on the last day of classes.

Baade's window and the bulge of the Milky Way
Hipparcus satellite and the Galactic distance scale
globular clusters in the Milky Way: formation & dynamics
the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds
the Magellanic Stream
globular clusters in external galaxies
origin of S0 galaxies: ``nature'' versus ``nurture''
low surface brightness galaxies
barred galaxies
dwarf galaxies
the HST key project on the extragalactic distance scale
Quasar hosts
Ultraluminous infrared galaxies

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Sylvain Veilleux