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.

Schedule change announcement: There is no lecture on April 24 (Tuesday). There will be an extra lecture on April 27 (Friday) at 12 noon in Bloomberg 462.

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.
Assignment 3, due Tue Mar 13 in class.
Assignment 4, due Tue Apr 3 in class.
Assignment 5, due Tue Apr 17 in class.
Assignment 6, due Tue May 1 in class.
Presentation topics are due on the google doc by Friday April 20th 11:59 pm.
Presentation draft slides are due by email to NLZ by Friday April 27th 11:59 pm.

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].
Feb 27. Lecture 9. Orbits in spherical potentials [BT 3.1]. Integrals of motion [BT 3.1.1].
Mar 1. Lecture 10. Orbits in axisymmetric potentials. Epicycle approximation [BT 3.2]. Kinematics of stars in the solar neighborhood [BM 10.3].
Mar 6. Lecture 11. Orbits in non-axisymmetric potentials [BT 3.3].
Gas in galaxy potential [BT Chapter 6]
Mar 8. Lecture 12. Gas in the Milky Way disk [BM 9.1, 9.2]. Fluid dynamics equations. Linear stability analysis, dispersion relation.
Mar 13. Lecture 13. Sound waves. Jeans instability. Stability of self-gravitating disks. Toomre Q.
Mar 15. Lecture 14. Kennicutt-Schmidt law. Accretion disks. Galactic disks and spiral structure.
Mar 19 - Mar 23: Spring break.
Mar 27. Lecture 15. Pattern speed. Lindblad resonances.
Mar 29. Lecture 16. Bar instability. Swing amplification.
Equilibria of collisionless systems [BT Chapter 4]
Distribution function (DF). Collisionless Boltzmann equation.
Apr 3. Lecture 17. Relationship between observables and the DF.
Apr 4. Lecture 18. GADGET. Jeans theorems. Ergodic DF. Velocity dispersion tensor (isotropic, tangentially anisotropic, radially anisotropic). Continuity equation. Jeans equation.
Apr 5. Lecture 19. Jeans equation in spherical systems. Example solutions. Isothermal sphere.
Apr 10. Lecture 20. Jeans equation in axisymmetric systems. Asymmetric drift.
Apr 17. Lecture 21. 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 19. Lecture 22. Baryons in galaxy formation (ILLUSTRIS, FIRE). Galaxy mergers. Feedback. Dynamical friction.
Apr 24. Lecture 23. Globular clusters: phenomenology, 2-body relaxation, tides, evaporation.
Apr 26. Lecture 24. 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 1. Lecture 25. Presentations.
May 3. Lecture 26. 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