The Universe of Galaxies
Galaxies are in one sense the visible atoms of the cosmic fabric,
tracing huge structures both in time and space. They have dynamic internal
histories as well, with very different formation and evolution schemes
under discussion and test. Galaxies and activity at their nuclei are
now appearing to be inextricably linked. We will explore here many
facets of galaxies, with the aim of getting to the point where you
can intelligently jump into the research literature and launch
In this course, we will deal with:
Galaxies - their integrated properties, classification, stellar
and gaseous content
Clusters of galaxies - galaxy and gasesous content, evolution
Active nuclei - QSOs, Seyfert nuclei, radio galaxies, the central
Intergalactic medium - Gunn-Peterson effect, QSO absorption systems
Galaxy formation and evolution - observations and some theory
Cosmology - world models, dark matter, and gravitational lensing
Some generally useful overall book references on these subjects are listed
WWW resources are generally less complete, with the notable exception of
cosmology tutorial at UCLA.
Galactic Astronomy: Structure and Kinematics, D. Mihalas and J.
Binney, Freeman 1981. This includes a nice overview of galaxy properties
Galactic Dynamics, J. Binney and S. Tremaine, Princeton 1987. This is
the standard reference on galaxy dynamics. I'm in awe of these
characters and the fabulous level of their discussion. Oddly enough,
though, because of our course layout at UA,
we'll use only some small snippets of their material.
Galaxies and the Universe, vol. 9 of
Stars and Stellar Systems,
ed. A. Sandage, M. Sandage, and J. Kristian, U. Chicago 1977. A classic,
with solid reviews on galaxy classification and properties. While
they are pretty old by current standards, some of the material is still
well worth reading. A modern counterpart is being issued this
year, Planets, Stars, and Stellar Systems: vol. 6, Extragalactic Astronomy
and Cosmology from Springer.
Evolution of Galaxies and Stellar Populations, ed. B.M. Tinsley and
R.B. Larson, Yale Obs. 1977. This volume is the proceedings of the "Yale
Conference", notable for the dawning realization that galaxies evolve
both passively and actively.
Toomre's paper on mergers and de Vaucouleurs'
review of quantitative classification, in particular, are still cited
Quasar Astronomy, D.W. Weedman, Cambridge 1987. A good
phenomonological review, including observational cosmology.
Astrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae and Active Galactic Nuclei, D.E.
Osterbrock and G.J. Ferland, University Science Books (2nd edition, 2006).
Detailed treatment of
emission-line astrophysics; the new edition included extensive
application to the context of QSO and AGN spectra.
Introduction to Active Galactic Nuclei, B.M. Peterson
(Cambridge, 1997). The full text has been made available
online, courtesy of the Cambridge University Press
The Road to Galaxy Formation, Keel (2nd edition, Springer-Praxis 2008).
Of historical interest are
Realm of the Nebulae, E.P. Hubble (1936, recently reprinted
by Dover). It is still impressive to see how much
of current extragalactic research was foreshadowed within a few years of
the confirmation that external galaxies actually exist.
Evolution of Stars and Galaxies, W. Baade (Harvard, 1963). This
posthumous collection of lectures includes
much of Baade's thought on stellar populations.
We conclude this introduction by considering a basic question -
just what is a galaxy? Different contexts faor different
properties. Need it have stars, if in the early Universe? Does it have to be
gravitationally isolated even if it's been forming stars? How can we distnguish
a dwarf galaxy from a large star cluster that escaped its home galaxy?
Discovery of galaxies »
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