ASTR 400B (Theoretical Astrophysics), Spring 2009

TR 2:00-3:15 PM, Steward Observatory, Room 204

Prof. Ann Zabludoff

Office Phone: 626-2509

Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:00-1:45 PM or by appointment, Steward Observatory, Room 312

Email: azabludoff@as.arizona.edu

Web Page: http://atropos.as.arizona.edu/aiz/teaching/a400b/

ANNOUNCEMENTS

STUDY GUIDE IS HERE.

GRADED HW'S AND SOLUTIONS NOW AVAILABLE ON CORKBOARD OUTSIDE INSTRUCTOR'S OFFICE.

CHANGE OF DATE FOR FINAL EXAM: IT IS NOW IN OUR CLASSROOM ON MONDAY, MAY 11, AT 2-4 PM.

TO DETERMINE YOUR APPROXIMATE GRADE IN THE CLASS AS OF 5/8/06: A = MORE THAN 40% OF 300 POINTS TO BE AWARDED BY END OF TERM, B = BETWEEN 30% AND 40%, C = BETWEEN 25% AND 30%, D = BETWEEN 20% AND 25%, F = LESS THAN 20%. (NOTE THAT THIS CURVE DOES NOT INCLUDE THE FINAL EXAM, AND THAT YOUR LOWEST HW HAS BEEN DROPPED.)


STEWARD OBSERVATORY HAS A GREAT COLLOQUIUM SERIES. You may replace one of each week's homework problems with a write-up of the key points discussed by the speaker. Prof. Daniel Eisenstein leads a pre-colloquium briefing in the department's third floor interaction area at 3:45 pm just before the colloquium. Click here for more info.

Summary

This course will study extragalactic astrophysics, ranging from the properties of galaxies to the fundamentals of modern cosmology. The choice of topics will tend to favor breadth over depth, but we will develop many quantitative tools along the way.

Prerequisites

This course will draw heavily on junior-level physics and astronomy. A working knowledge of junior-level physics at the level of Physics 321, 325, and 331 is strongly recommended. Normally, students should have completed Astronomy 300A, 300B, and 400A. Please come talk to me if this is not the case.

Evaluation

Homework 40%, Midterm Exam 20% (Mar 12), Final Exam 40% (2-4 PM, Thursday, May 14). Honors students will complete a 15 page paper, due in class on Apr 30, in which they explain and synthesize the issues surrounding a topic of current research in galactic or extragalactic astronomy. The topic should be unrelated to any research projects the student might be pursuing outside of class. Students should discuss their topics with the instructor well in advance and submit a short summary of their topic and proposed reading materials (textbooks, review articles, and research journal articles being appropriate) no later than April 14. The paper will count as an additional 15% of their grade.

Homework Assignments

I expect homework solutions to represent each individual's independent work. I will penalize grades on homework solutions that were clearly done jointly. It is ok to discuss the problems with your classmates (or to come to meet with me), but writing out the solutions must not be a "team effort".

Homework assignments will be ~weekly and due generally on Tuesdays.

Homework will be due in class on the due date. No late assignments will be accepted. The lowest homework grade will be dropped.

Website

The course website includes the most recent course syllabus, schedule, special announcements, and other course materials. Check the website frequently for updates.

Textbook and Other References

Our textbook is Galaxies in the Universe by Sparke and Gallagher, which is available at the U of A Bookstore. NOTE: Please see this link for a list of errata in this book.

Other useful references:

Introduction to Cosmology, by Barbara Ryden. Excellent book on the basics of cosmology aimed at the advanced undergraduate level. THIS BOOK IS ON RESERVE IN THE STEWARD OBSERVATORY LIBRARY.

Galactic Astronomy, by Binney & Merrifield. This is a new and fairly complete reference for galactic astronomy. It tends to read a bit too much like an encyclopedia to be the primary text for this course, but if you're looking for more information on a topic, it's a good place to start. This is actually an updated version of a classic book of the same name by Mihalas & Binney. You may find that book useful too!

Galactic Dynamics, by Binney & Tremaine. This is a famous (and very good) graduate-level book on galactic dynamics, which is the study of motions and gravitational forces within galaxies.

An Introduction to Modern Cosmology, by Andrew Liddle. This is a new undergrad level book on cosmology.

Galaxy Formation, by Malcolm Longair. Despite its title, this is really a book on cosmology (i.e., the theory that underlies galaxy formation). It's harder than Ryden but accessible enough for undergrads. There are a bunch of nice topics in here that aren't in Ryden.

Cosmological Physics, by John Peacock. A new graduate-level book on cosmology. It's harder than Longair, but readable.

Modern Cosmology, by Scott Dodelson. A very new graduate-level book on cosmology.

Principles of Physical Cosmology, by Jim Peebles. Slightly older (early 90's) and exahustively complete, this is not an ideal first book on cosmology, but it's really useful once you know what you're looking for.

The Early Universe, by Kolb & Turner. A graduate-level book on the interface of particle physics and cosmology. There are some really nice chapters in here, although chapter 9 on structure formation is fairly dated in its presentation.

Cosmology: The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structures, by Coles & Lucchin. This is a graduate-level book on cosmology.

Structure Formation in the Universe, by Padmanabhan. An advanced undergrad-level book on cosmology that you may find useful.