Concepts of Astrophysics II

Astronomy 422/538 (Spring 2016) is intended for advanced (senior level) undergraduates, and is also counted as an elective for graduate students. This course covers galaxies and the Universe, starting off with the interstellar medium of our own Milky Way Galaxy. We will then discuss the structure of the Milky Way and other galaxies, galaxy evolution, clusters of galaxies and the large scale structure of the Universe. The last part of the course will concentrate on cosmology, and the early Universe. A major emphasis of the course will be to instruct you on how to think (and write) like a scientist. We will have an exercise in peer review and a term paper. Part of the term paper grade is giving a presentation to the class. There will be no final exam.

Instructor: Prof. Greg Taylor, PandA Room 180, phone 277-5238, email
TA: Joe Malins, email
Time and place: TuTh 9:30-10:45 AM
Room 5, Physics & Astronomy Building
Syllabus and course web page:
Lectures in PDF format:
Astro422 Review Program files:
Textbook: An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, B.W. Carroll & D.A. Ostlie, 2nd Edition.
Prerequisites: Physics 330 or 491,492 or their equivalent, and Astro 421.
Exams and Grades: Your final grade will be determined through three sectional exams (each 20% of the grade), eight sets of homework (20%) and a term paper (20%). There will be no final exam.

Some useful links:
Science Daily's website for astronomy news
Greg Taylor's home page
Search engines for articles: ADS database,   Astro-ph
Example of term paper outline and final write-up. The outline and paper will of course be different depending on your topic, but by writing an outline we will be able to make sure that you work on the relevant pieces from the beginning. And you should study the example to see what all the parts are and the level of detail desired.

Lecture schedule - updated 12/15/15

Date Topic Chapter Assignment
Tu Jan 19 The Interstellar Medium: ISM phases, neutral hydrogen 12.1
Th Jan 21 The ISM: WIM, dispersion measures, HII regions 12.1
Tu Jan 26 The ISM: HIM, cosmic rays, synchrotron radiation 15.5
Th Jan 28 The ISM: molecular clouds, H2, interstellar chemistry, IMF
12.1-12.3 Homework 1 due
Tu Feb 2 The Milky Way: morphology, ISM distribution
24.1-24.2 Term paper topics due
Th Feb 4 The Milky Way: kinematics
24.3 Homework 2 due
Tu Feb 9 The Milky Way: the Galactic Center
Th Feb 11 Galaxies: the Hubble sequence, galaxy types
Homework 3 due
25.1 Homework 3 due
Tu Feb 16 Exam 1 12, 15.5, 24
Th Feb 18 Galaxies: spiral galaxies, rotation curves 25.2
Tu Feb 23 Galaxies: spiral structure 25.3
Th Feb 25 Galactic Evolution, Ellipticals and the Green Valley
26.1 and paper Homework 4 due
Tu Mar 1 Galactic Evolution: galaxy interactions 25.4, 26.1
Th Mar 3 Galactic Evolution: formation of disks and ellipticals
26.2 Homework 5 due
Tu Mar 8 Structure of the Universe: extragalactic distance scale
27.1 Term Paper Outline due
Th Mar 10 Exam 2 25, 26, 27
Tu Mar 15 Spring break
Th Mar 17 Spring break
Tu Mar 22 Structure of the Universe: Hubble's law, large scale structure
Th Mar 24 Active Galaxies: types, evolution 28.1
Tu Mar 29 Active Galaxies: unified model, gravitational lensing
Th Mar 31 Galaxy Clusters and AGN Feedback
27.3 Homework 6 due
Tu Apr 5 Cosmology: Newtonian 29.1, 29.2
Th Apr 7 Cosmology: The Microwave Background 29.3
Tu Apr 12 Peer Review Exercise

27.3 Homework 7 reports
Th Apr 14 Cosmology: Relativistic, primordial nucleosynthesis
Tu Apr 19 The Early Universe: inflation, hot and cold dark matter
30.1 Homework 8 due
Th Apr 21 The Early Universe: origin of structure 30.2
Tu Apr 26 Exam 3 28, 29, 30
Th Apr 28 Graduate Term paper presentations: TBD
Tu May 3 Term paper presentations: TBD
Th May 5 Term paper presentations: TBD
Mo May 9 Full Written Term paper Deadline at 5 pm