Astrophysical Dynamics (AS.171.627)
Nadia Zakamska
Spring 2018

This is a graduate course that covers the fundamentals of galaxy formation, galactic structure and stellar dynamics and includes topics in current research. The goal of the class is to introduce the analytical, numerical and observational tools of research in galaxy formation and stellar dynamics, so that students can read and analyze scientific literature and conduct research projects in this area.

Lectures on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30-11:45 in Bloomberg 259.

There may be a need to schedule some make-up classes. We'll set up some doodle polls to pick out a convenient make-up time.

There will be no classes during Spring Break (March 19-March 25).

Lingyuan Ji is the TA for this class.

Galactic Dynamics (Binney, J., Tremaine, S.)
Optional: Galactic Astronomy (Binney, J., Merrifield, M.)

You will probably need LaTeX, python, ds9 and possibly other software.

Acknowledgments: some homework materials for this class were taken from assignments by S. Tremaine with his kind permission.


Homework assignments were posted here for the duration of the course.
Assignment 1, due Tue Feb 13 in class.
Assignment 2, due Tue Feb 27 in class.

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 we 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 40% homework, 20% oral presentations, 40% final exam.


Galaxy phenomenology and measurements
Jan 30. Lecture 1. Stellar systems. Galaxy morphology [BM 4.1]
Feb 1. Lecture 2. Limited sample statistics. Star / galaxy counts and luminosity function. Log N - Log S. Biases (Malmquist, Lutz-Kelker, etc.) [BM 3.6]
Feb 6. Lecture 3. V/Vmax method. Stellar luminosity function. Initial mass function. Distance ladder [BM 2.2].
Feb 8. Lecture 4. Galaxy luminosity function [BM 4.1]. Field vs cluster galaxies. Local Group. Ultra-faint dwarfs.
Brightness and potential distribution of galaxies [BT Chapter 2]
Feb 13. Lecture 5. Surface photometry of galaxies [BM 4.2, 4.3].
Feb 15. Lecture 6. Potential theory of spherical stellar systems [BT Chapter 2]
Feb 20. Lecture 7. Potential theory of disks. Potential of an arbitrary density distribution.
Stars in galaxy potential [BT Chapter 3]
Feb 22. Lecture 8. Limits of potential theory, two-body relaxation [BT 1.2, 7.1]. Virial theorem [BT 7.2.1]. Orbits in spherical potentials [BT 3.1].
Feb 27. Lecture 9. Integrals of motion [BT 3.1.1]. Orbits in axisymmetric potentials. Epicycle approximation [BT 3.2].
Mar 1. Lecture 10. Kinematics of stars in the solar neighborhood [BM 10.3]. Orbits in non-axisymmetric potentials [BT 3.3].
Mar 6. Lecture 11. Gas in the Milky Way disk [BM 9.1, 9.2]. Fluid dynamics equations. Linear stability analysis, dispersion relation.
Gas in galaxy potential [BT Chapter 6]
Mar 8. Lecture 12. Sound waves. Jeans instability. Stability of self-gravitating disks. Toomre Q.
Mar 13. Lecture 13. Tentatively: Gaia lecture -- Belokurov
Mar 15. Lecture 14. Tentatively: Gaia lecture -- Belokurov
Mar 19 - Mar 23: Spring break.

Copied from last year's syllabus, to be updated with this year's dates and topics

Mar 28. Lecture 14. Kennicutt-Schmidt law. Accretion disks. Galactic disks and spiral structure. Pattern speed. Lindblad resonances.
Mar 30. Lecture 15. Bar instability. Swing amplification.
Equilibria of collisionless systems [BT Chapter 4]
Distribution function (DF). Collisionless Boltzmann equation.
Apr 4. Lecture 16. Relationship between observables and the DF. GADGET. Jeans theorems. Ergodic DF.
Apr 6. Lecture 17. Velocity dispersion tensor (isotropic, tangentially anisotropic, radially anisotropic). Continuity equation. Jeans equation.
Apr 11. Lecture 18. Jeans equation in spherical systems. Example solutions. Isothermal sphere.
Apr 13. Lecture 19. Jeans equation in axisymmetric systems. Asymmetric drift.
Apr 18. Lecture 20. Local density of dark matter. Schwarzschild method [BT 4.7.2]. Summary of global galaxy properties: elliptical (fundamental plane), disks (Tully-Fisher).
Dissipative effects [BT Chapters 7 and 8].
Apr 20. Lecture 21. Baryons in galaxy formation (ILLUSTRIS, FIRE). Galaxy mergers. Feedback. Dynamical friction.
Apr 25. Lecture 22. Globular clusters: phenomenology, 2-body relaxation, tides, evaporation.
Apr 27. Lecture 23. Globular clusters: core collapse, gravothermal catastrophy, maximal entropy (BT 4.7), Heggie's laws, mass segregation.
Other potential topics for the class if we have time: linear growth of structure.
May 2. Lecture 24. Presentations.
May 4. Lecture 25. Presentations.


Hogg -- Distance measures in cosmology

Whittle -- Graduate extragalactic astronomy

Latex template, style file and instructions

Garland -- Advice for beginning physics speakers

Lisa Randall about Vera Rubin

Guidelines for publication-quality images

Guidelines for preparing scientific papers