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Sylvain Veilleux

Course Outline: Fall 1999

I. Introduction and Review (3 lectures)
$\bullet$ General outlook on galaxies
$\bullet$ Review: stars and stellar evolution
$\bullet$ Galactic distance scale

II. Stellar Populations and their Distribution (4 lectures)
$\bullet$ Star counts
$\bullet$ Stellar luminosity function, initial mass function, birth rate
$\bullet$ Distribution and kinematics of stellar populations in the Milky Way and other galaxies
$\bullet$ Asymmetrical drift, Bottlinger diagram
$\bullet$ Disk heating: Spitzer-Schwarzschild mechanism
$\bullet$ Formation Models of our Galaxy

III. Galactic Rotation and Stellar Dynamics (4 lectures)
$\bullet$ Solar motion and the local standard of rest
$\bullet$ Oort constants
$\bullet$ Stellar motions in disk and elliptical potentials
$\bullet$ Rotation curve of our Galaxy
$\bullet$ Rotation and dynamics in external galaxies

IV. Disk Dynamics and Spiral Structure (4 lectures)
$\bullet$ Stability of disks
$\bullet$ Spiral density wave theory
$\bullet$ Tracers of spiral structure
$\bullet$ Stochastic star formation
$\bullet$ Bars
$\bullet$ Warps

V. Elliptical Galaxies (4 lectures)
$\bullet$ Equations of stellar hydrodynamics
$\bullet$ Stellar relaxation
$\bullet$ Velocity ellipsoids, triaxiality
$\bullet$ Mass profiles

VI. Galactic Nuclei (3 lectures)
$\bullet$ Observational summary of our Galactic center
$\bullet$ Search for dormant black holes in nearby galaxies
$\bullet$ Active galactic nuclei & starbursts

VII. Galaxy Evolution and the Effects of Environment (3 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

VIII. Extragalactic Distance Scale (1 lecture)
$\bullet$ Tully-Fisher relation for spiral galaxies
$\bullet$ Fundamental plane of elliptical galaxies
$\bullet$ Surface brightness fluctuations
$\bullet$ Globular clusters, planetary nebulae, and supernovae

IX. Dark Matter (2 lectures)
$\bullet$ Mass determinations and mass-to-light ratios on various scales
$\bullet$ Composition of dark matter

Main texts: Galactic Astronomy by Binney & Merrifield, Princeton U. Press, 1998 (on reserve)
Galactic Dynamics by Binney & Tremaine, Princeton U. Press, 1987 (on reserve)

Other readings: Galactic Astronomy by Mihalas & Binney, Freeman, 1981 (on reserve) review and journal articles (copies will be on reserve)

Problem sets: 4 or 5 sets during the semester.

Short talk: five-minute talk in AAS style.

Term paper: Paper not to exceed 10 pages in length (including references & figures).

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


Homeworks 20%
Short oral presentation 5%
Term paper 20%
Mid-term exam 20%
Final exam 35%

Possible Topics for Short Talks and Term Papers

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. Short talks will be scheduled in October, so let me know your topic within a couple of weeks.

To get a managably small topic for a short talk: pick a general area that interests you and find a recent paper within that area of special significance. Then ``pretend'' that you are the author of the paper presenting the results at a AAS meeting. In such a situation, you'd be trying to get the idea of your work over as quickly and clearly as possible, as well as making your audience appreciate how it fits into the ``big picture''.

dwarf galaxies
origin of S0 galaxies: ``nature'' versus ``nurture''
boxy bulge - stellar bar connection
low surface brightness galaxies
Galactic reddening determinations: descendants of the cosec law
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
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 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
Ly $\alpha$ absorption line clouds
the HST key project on quasar hosts
the HST key project on the extragalactic distance scale
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

next up previous
Next: About this document ...
Sylvain Veilleux