Astrophysical Dynamics (AS.171.627)
Nadia Zakamska
Spring 2013

This is a webpage for Spring 2013. All materials have been removed in preparation for the next class in Spring 2016.

This is a graduate course that covers the fundamentals of galaxy formation, galactic structure and stellar dynamics and includes topics in current research.

Lectures on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 to 10:15 am in Bloomberg 511.

Edwin Chan is the TA for this class.

The required textbooks for this class are:
Galactic Dynamics (Binney, J., Tremaine, S.)
Galactic Astronomy (Binney, J., Merrifield, M.)

Updates posted April 25:
-- Final exam: right now we are considering May 8 to May 13th schedule for the final exam. We have collectively decided to lengthen it so that there is less time pressure and more focus on getting the physics right. Books, internet are OK, communication with other humans is not.
-- Final exam will contain problems similar to those you've seen on HW assignments, plus some problems on Jeans equation.


Assignments

Guidelines for homework:
(1) You may discuss homework with your classmates or others. You may not look at their written solutions (and thus, you may not show yours to others).
(2) You may use Internet, books, journals, and departmental resources and software. Google is an excellent place to start if there are terms and abbreviations you don't know. If you use a webpage or an article in your final solution, please provide a reference. If you use a direct quote, you must put it in quotation marks and provide a reference. Your own words are always preferable.
(3) Unless specified otherwise, there is no need to type your solutions, but I need to be able to read your handwriting.
(4) Everybody gets one free pass on one <=24 hour delay on any assignment over the entire semester. After that, partial credit is at the discretion of the TA.

The final grade is 2/5 homework, 1/5 final presentation, 2/5 final exam.


Syllabus

Jan 29. Lecture 1. Stellar systems. Galaxy morphology [BM 4.1]
Jan 31. Lecture 2. Limited sample statistics. Star / galaxy counts and luminosity function. Log N - Log S. Biases (Malmquist, Lutz-Kelker, etc.) [BM 3.6]
Feb 5. Lecture 3. V/Vmax method. Stellar luminosity function. Initial mass function. Distance ladder [BM 2.2].
Feb 7. Lecture 4. Galaxy luminosity function [BM 4.1]. Field vs cluster galaxies. Local Group. Ultra-faint dwarfs.
Brightness and potential distribution of galaxies
Feb 12. Lecture 5. Surface photometry of galaxies [BM 4.2, 4.3].
Feb 14. Lecture 6. Potential theory of spherical stellar systems [BT Chapter 2]
Feb 19. Lecture 7. Potential theory of disks.
Feb 21. Lecture 8. Potential of an arbitrary density distribution. Limits of potential theory, two-body relaxation [BT 1.2, 7.1].
Stars in galaxy potential
Feb 26. Lecture 9. Virial theorem [BT 7.2.1]. Orbits in spherical potentials [BT 3.1].
Feb 28. Lecture 10. Integrals of motion [BT 3.1.1]. Orbits in axisymmetric potentials. Epicycle approximation [BT 3.2].
Mar 5. Lecture 11. Kinematics of stars in the solar neighborhood [BM 10.3]. Orbits in non-axisymmetric potentials [BT 3.3].
Gas in galaxy potential [BT Chapter 6]
Mar 7. Lecture 12. Gas in the Milky Way disk [BM 9.1, 9.2]. Fluid dynamics equations. Linear stability analysis, dispersion relation.
Mar 12. Lecture 13. Sound waves. Jeans instability. Stability of self-gravitating disks. Toomre Q.
Mar 14. Lecture 14. Kennicutt-Schmidt law. Accretion disks. Galactic disks and spiral structure.
Mar 18 - Mar 24: Spring break.
Mar 26. Lecture 15. Pattern speed. Lindblad resonances. Bar instability. Swing amplification.
Equilibria of collisionless systems [BT Chapter 4]
Distribution function (DF). Collisionless Boltzmann equation.
Mar 28. Lecture 16. Relationship between observables and the DF. GADGET. Jeans theorems. Ergodic DF.
Apr 2. Lecture 17. Velocity dispersion tensor (isotropic, tangentially anisotropic, radially anisotropic). Continuity equation. Jeans equation.
Apr 9. Lecture 18. Jeans equation in spherical systems. Example solutions. Isothermal sphere.
Apr 11. Lecture 19. Jeans equation in axisymmetric systems. Asymmetric drift.
Apr 16. Lecture 20. Local density of dark matter. Schwarzschild method [BT 4.7.2]
Miscellaneous topics.
Apr 18. Lecture 21. Summary of global galaxy properties: elliptical (fundamental plane), disks (Tully-Fisher). Galaxy mergers. Dynamical friction.
Apr 23. Lecture 22. Globular clusters: phenomenology, stellar collisions, tides.
Apr 25. Lecture 23. Globular clusters: evaporation, core collapse, Heggie's laws. Linear growth of structure.
Apr 30. Lecture 24. Presentations.
May 2. Lecture 25. Presentations.


Miscellaneous

Latex template, style file and instructions

Garland -- Advice for beginning physics speakers