Physics 607 and Astro 607

Galaxies and Galaxy Dynamics

Professor: rachel somerville

hubble ultra deep fieldgalaxy imagecoma
Hubble Ultra Deep Field; Hubble Heritage image M66; Coma cluster

1. Course Description

Official course description:

Properties of galaxies: photometry, structure, kinematics, gas content, chemical evolution. Structure of the Milky Way. Equilibrium, stability, and evolution of stellar systems. Dynamics and evolution of disk galaxies (spiral patterns, bars, warps) and elliptical galaxies. Examples of chaotic astrophysical systems. AstroGradCurriculumProposal.dvi

In addition to learning about the observed properties of galaxies, and how they evolve over cosmic time, we will also study how we think galaxies form in the context of the "hierarchical structure formation" picture provided by the Cold Dark Matter theory. Topics that will be covered include:

-structure formation in the Cold Dark Matter model
-galaxy clustering and bias
-the Milky Way and the Local Group
-demographics of nearby galaxies
-galaxies and their environment
-interactions and mergers
-galaxy evolution over cosmic time
-dynamics and stability of galactic disks
-dynamics and evolution of elliptical galaxies
-black holes and Active Galactic Nuclei

2. Instructor

Prof. rachel somerville
email: somerville [at]
office: 317 Serin
office hours by appointment

taught Spring semester in even number years
in Spring 2016, class will be held T, Th 10:20-11:40 in Serin 401

3. Class Format and Grading

The class will be run as a lecture/discussion. Students will give a 30 minute in-class presentation. There will be 4 homework assignments, which will include 3 computational projects and one traditional problem set. As a final project, students will write a mock proposal (for observing time, archival work, or theory). The final class will be a mock Time Allocation Committee where students will review each others proposals.

4. Textbooks

The two main texts for the course are
Galaxy Formation and Evolution by Mo, van den Bosch & White: a very recent and excellent graduate level textbook.
Galactic Dynamics by Binney & Tremaine: advanced graduate level textbook, the 'Bible' of galactic dynamics

5. Students with Disabilities

If you have a disability, please contact Professor Somerville early in the semester to make the necessary arrangements to ensure a successful learning experience.

Click here for more information.

6. Useful links:

Rutgers Astronomy Group
Astrophysics Data System (ADS)
NASA/IPAC Extragalactic database (NED)
Millennium Simulation Database
Ned Wright's Cosmology Tutorial (and News)