ASTR 620: Galaxies
Stacy McGaugh

Course Outline, Fall 2001
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. Stellar Populations and their Distribution
    Star counts
    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 (on reserve), and Galactic Dynamics by Binney & Tremaine [B&T], Princeton U. Press, 1987 (on reserve).

    Other readings: journal & review articles as assigned.

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