This course will
be offered in Winter Term 2014.
This course covers the structure and history of our
own Galaxy, the properties of normal and active galaxies, their
formation and evolution. The second part of the course is an
overview of cosmological models and their observational background, the
Big Bang, and the evolution and expansion of the Universe.
Physics 3160 is an upper year physics/astronomy course
with mathematics & physics prerequisites: Physics
2056 and 2151 and Mathematics 2000. Physics 3220 is recommended.
- Dr. Douglas Forbes
- Office: AS 3028
- Phone: 637-6295
dforbes at grenfell dot mun dot ca
An Introduction to Galaxies and Cosmology, Edited
by Jones and Lambourne (2004, Cambridge University Press)
Introduction to Modern Cosmology, 2nd ed., A. Liddle, (2003, Wiley)
Other Recommended Books:
in the Universe (2nd Ed.), L.S. Sparke & J.S. Gallagher (2007, Cambridge University Press)
The course is broken up
into several main areas, generally following the arrangement of topics
in the textbooks:
I. Review of Stellar Astronomy.
You will already be
familiar with some of this material from PHYS 2151, but we will go
into greater depth and be more technical, with most things. This
section will review astronomical observation (magnitudes, colours,
spectra, radial velocities, distances, etc.), and basics about stars
(spectral classification, the HR diagram, stellar evolution).
Section II. General
Observational Properties of Galaxies.
After an examination of our own Galaxy, you will learn more about general
galaxy properties – morphologies, sizes, luminosities, surface
We'll look at the nature of elliptical, spiral, and irregular
galaxies in some detail. In addition to covering the stellar and
gaseous components of the galaxies, you'll be learning about their
dynamics and chemical evolution. You’ll also find out about the luminosity
function for galaxies, and be introduced to active galaxies and a
“nature vs. nurture” debate.
(Jones & Lambourne, Chap. 1 and 2)
Section III. Active
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease”, so we’ll devote a few days to
these spectacular show-offs.
(Jones & Lambourne, Chap. 3)
Clusters. Groups of galaxies and their
large-scale distribution in space. Here’s where you’ll find two
pretty spiffy ways to find the mass of galaxy clusters - even if you
can’t see most of it! (Jones
& Lambourne, Chap. 4)
V. An Introduction to Modern Cosmology.
And now for the really
cool stuff! As the author of your second text says: “By a lucky
chance, and a subtle bit of cheating, the correct equations
describing an expanding Universe can be obtained from Newtonian
gravity. From this basis, one can study all the triumphs of the Hot
Big Bang cosmology – the expansion of the Universe, the prediction
of its age, the existence of the cosmic microwave background, and
the abundances of light elements such as helium and deuterium – and
even go on to discuss more speculative ideas such as the
inflationary cosmology.” Which is just what we’ll do!
Colour Galaxy Images
Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Your attention is drawn to University regulations governing academic
offences, particularly plagiarism. Anyone found guilty of an academic
offence can expect, at the very least, to receive a mark of zero for the
work in question.