Ay 124 -- Winter Term 2015-16

Structure and Dynamics of Galaxies

Instructor: Chuck Steidel (252 Cahill, x-4168).

Office Hours: drop by any time, or make appt. by e-mail

The TA for the class is Denise Schmitz (357 Cahill, x-4519)

Denise's office hours are TBD.

The class meets Weds. and Fri., 1-2:30pm, in 219 Cahill

The current syllabus

Announcements Note: there will be no class on Weds., March 9- instead, we will meet on Friday, March 11, at the normal class time (1:00pm) to hear talks from each of you. We will end that day when we finish, circa 3pm.


Grading will be based on a combination of homework sets (50%) and a research project (50%) consisting of a written 5-10 page paper and a 10-minute presentation to your classmates during the last week of classes. The paper will be due on Sunday, March 6 by midnight p.m., so please plan ahead to set aside time to work on it.

There will be 5 problem sets during the term. Assignments will generally be due Fridays at 5pm, turned into Steidel's mailbox in 249 Cahill, except by prior arrangement with the instructor and the TA.

On the homeworks, you may discuss the problems with your classmates, but each student is expected to write her/his solutions independently.

Homework Assignments

Notes and Supplemental Materials


There is no single text book that covers all of the topics for Ay124 at an appropriate level. Each week has associated with it some recommended reading in three textbooks: "Galactic Astronomy", by Binney and Merrifield (1998), "Galactic Dynamics", by Binney and Tremaine (2nd edition, 2008), and "Galaxy Formation and Evolution", by Mo, van den Bosch, and White (2011). Note that the Mo et al textbook will prove useful for Ay127 as well! All 3 books are on reserve in the Cahill library, but you may want to consider buying one or more of them as a reference (e.g., the Mo, van den Bosch, and White book is both fairly current and covers a lot of useful ground across many areas of astrophysics). For some topics, links to papers or review articles will be provided for background reading.

Here are some links to papers of relevance to topics covered in class; reading or at least perusing them is recommended:

  • The Formation of the Milky Way Eggen, Lynden-Bell, and Sandage 1962
  • Composition of Halo Clusters and the Formation of the Galactic Halo Searle and Zinn 1978
  • The Galactic Bulge: A Review (Minniti and Zoccali 2008) IAU 245
  • Galactic Stellar Populations in the Era of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and Other Large Surveys (Ivezic et al 2012) ARAA review
  • A Universal Stellar Initial Mass Function? A Critical Look at Variations (Bastian et al 2011) ARAA review
  • Chabrier's 2003 review on Initial Mass Function Chabrier 2003
  • Galaxy Disks (van der Kruit et al 2011) ARAA review
  • Gaseous Galaxy Halos (Putman et al 2012) ARAA review
  • Star Formation in Galaxies Along the Hubble Sequence (Kennicutt 1998) ARAA review
  • Star Formation in the Milky Way and Nearby Galaxies (Kennicutt & Evans 2012) ARAA review
  • Structure and Dynamics of Elliptical Galaxies (de Zeeuw 2001) ARAA review
  • Elliptical Galaxy Dynamics (Merritt 1998) review
  • The internal Dynamics of Globular Clusters (Meylan et al 1999) review
  • Dynamics of Interacting Galaxies Barnes and Hernquist 1992 ARAA
  • Gasdynamics and Starbursts in Major Mergers Mihos and Hernquist 1996
  • Luminous IR Galaxies Sanders and Mirabel 1996 ARAA
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    Last updated January 6, 2016