AST 346: Galaxies

Spring 2011

Class meets TuTh 11:20 -- 12:40, ESS450

First meeting: February 1, 2011. Depending on enrollment, future classes might be held in a different classroom.

Text: Galaxies in the Universe by Sparke and Gallagher. We will also use material from Galactic Dynamics by Binney and Tremaine, and from An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll and Ostlie, which you are encouraged to have anyway.


The final grade will be assessed from a mid-term (March 24) and a final exam (each 25%), together with near-weekly homework assignments (30%) and a research paper (20%). Note that we have arranged a second exam, in class, for May 10. There will be a presentation during the time scheduled for the final exam, May 17 at 2:15 PM, during which you are invited to bring solutions to 2 of the exam problems which you wish to have regraded. You should work on these solutions independently, not like homeworks, treating this part of the exam as a take-home exam. After collecting the solutions, I will invite each of you to discuss your solutions, so keep a copy of your solutions. I will post the exam online so you don't need to take the exam sheet with you from the exam room on May 10. Only if you attend this session, and give me written solutions at its start, will I regrade your second exam. We will not have a lecture on May 5, but will have a lecture on May 12. The lecture/presentations on May 17 will formally make up for the missed class on May 5. If you foresee a difficulty with this arrangement, please bring it to my attention.

The research paper should be a review of a particular topic in connection with our Galaxy, other galaxies, or the interstellar medium. It will be due April 14. A penalty of 1/3 letter grade per day will be assessed for unexcused late submissions. Please send me your topic as soon as possible so I can let you know if the topic is acceptable and does not duplicate another student's choice. The paper should be written in Astrophysical Journal style with references, and it should include an introduction that summarizes the interest and importance of the topic and also previous work. There should also be an abstract summarizing the content. Graphics are encouraged. I have written a SAMPLE RESEARCH PAPER, together with ITS TEX FILE, as a guide. One flaw of the sample paper is that the introduction is too brief, without enough discussion of previous work.