Astronomy 323/423: The Local Universe

Admininistrative stuff: grading scheme, textbook and reference books

Problem set 1 (review of stellar evolution and luminosity functions) Part (1) is due in class Friday August 28, part (2) in class Tuesday Sept 1, part (3) in class Friday Sept 4. I will choose one or more students at random on each day to present their solution(s) to the class.

Problem set 2 (Galaxy classification) Due Tuesday Sept 15, in class.

Problem set 3 (Population synthesis) Due Tues Sept 29 in class.

Midterm in class time Tuesday 13 October

Problem set 4 (Galaxy colors and environment) Due 5pm Tues Oct 27.

Problem set 5 (Galaxy formation theory) Due in class Fri Nov 13.

Problem set 6 (Stellar LF and star count modeling of the Galaxy) Due in class Tues Dec 1.

Final Exam: Wed December 9 4-7pm

Course Outline:

(0) Review: Reddening and filter systems

(1) Overview of galaxies, their structure and how we quantify it. Learning the language we use to describe galaxies.

1.1 Hubble classification

Galaxy classification using morphology
ESO page on sky brightness

1.2 Quantifying galaxy properties: photometry

Slides on galaxy luminosity profile measurement, originally from Prof Andreas Berlind, Vanderbilt University
Moving away from morphology: using SDSS imaging

1.3 Quantifying galaxy properties: galaxy spectra

Galaxy spectra compared to stellar spectra
Spectral synthesis and the mass-metallicity relation
Chemical evolution

(2) Cosmology meets galaxy formation: Does environment matter?

Reading: Sparke and Gallagher Ch 7, p278-297

2.1 The morphology-density relation

Galaxy morphology and environment
Causes of galaxy trends with environment.

2.2 The galaxy luminosity function and its variation with environment

(3) Ellipticals and kinematical scaling relations

What causes the shape of elliptical galaxies?>
The virial theorem and the fundamental plane
(4) Galaxy formation
Reading: Sparke and Gallagher section 4.3. Longair Ch 11, Mihos 328 notes.

Galaxy formation: theory
How gas cooling plays into galaxy formation, and how disks get angular momentum

(5) A late-type spiral in a poor group -- the Milky Way

5.1 Techniques of stellar populations:
Reading: Sparke and Gallagher Ch 2.1, pp 58-66

Distance measurement: Absolute and relative distance indicators. Main sequence fitting and Cepheid variables.

Reading: Binney and Merrifield Section 7.2, 7.2.1
Stellar luminosity function and initial mass function

5.2 Milky Way structure:
Disk populations: ISM, thin disk, thick disk, bar.
Mapping the Galaxy with star counts. Disk kinematics. Rotation. Epicycles, disk heating

Multi-wavelength Milky Way
Stellar populations in the Galaxy; measuring ages of stars

5.2 The thin disk
The thin disk (Powerpoint)

5.3 The thick disk
Properies and formation of thick disk (Powerpoint)

5.4 The stellar halo
Halo kinematics and formation

Dynamical friction (Mihos javalab)

5.5 Dynamics of disks
Stellar kinematics

(6) The Local Group.
Reading: Sparke and Gallagher Ch 4, 4.1
The three spirals: M31, Milky Way, M33. Reading: text Ch 4.2
Dwarf galaxies in the Local Group. Reading: S and G Ch 4.4

The Local Group
Dwarf galaxies in the Local Group 1.
Dwarf galaxies in the Local Group 2.
Star formation in Local Group dwarfs