Ay 124

Structure and Dynamics of Galaxies

Winter Term, 2012-13; Instructor: Chuck Steidel (252 Cahill). Office Hours: TBD

The class meets Tu/Th 2:30-4pm in 219 Cahill

The TA duties will be shared by Antonija Oklopcic and Ben Montet

TA office hours will Thursdays at 4:15 or by arrangement with Ben or Antonija.

The current syllabus.


*** There will be no class during the week of January 7 due to the AAS meeting in Long Beach. The first class meeting will be on Tuesday, January 15. ***


Grading will be based on a combination of homework sets (40%) a written final exam (30%) and a research project (30%) 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 Friday, March 8 by 5:00 p.m., so please plan ahead to set aside time to work on it.

There will be 4-5 problem sets during the term, approximately one every two weeks. Assignments will be due Fridays at 5pm, turned into Steidel's mailbox in 249 Cahill, except by prior arrangement with the instructor and the TAs.

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

Homework Assignments


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 two textbooks: "Galactic Astronomy", by Binney and Merrifield (1998), and/or "Galactic Dynamics", by Binney and Tremaine (2nd edition, 2008). 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 New Galaxy Review article on the history of the Galaxy, Freedman and Bland-Hawthorn 2002
  • Chabrier's 2003 review on Initial Mass Function Chabrier 2003
  • The impact of Hipparcos on the distances and ages of Galactic globular clusters Reid 1997
  • High velocity clouds as the building blocks of the local group Blitz et al. 1998
  • Galactic Bulges (Ann. Rev. article) Wyse, Gilmore, and Franx 1998
  • The Stellar Initial Mass Function Scalo 1997, review
  • Star Formation in Galaxies Along the Hubble Sequence Kennicutt 1998, ARAA
  • Elliptical Galaxy Dynamics Merritt 1998, review
  • The internal Dynamics of Globular Clusters Meylan 1999 review
  • Dynamical Friction in Dwarf Galaxies Hernandez and Gilmore 1998
  • 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
  • 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 29, 2013