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 research projects.

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 engine
  • 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 below. WWW resources are generally less complete, with the notable exception of Ned Wright's cosmology tutorial at UCLA.

  • Galactic Astronomy: Structure and Kinematics, D. Mihalas and J. Binney, Freeman 1981. This includes a nice overview of galaxy properties and systematics.
  • 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 Gene Byrd teaches a separate course at UA in celestial mechanics, we'll use only some small snippets of their material.
  • Astrophysics II - Interstellar Matter and Galaxies, R. Bowers and T. Deeming, Jones and Bartlett 1984
  • 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.
  • Structure and Evolution of Normal Galaxies, ed. S. Faber and D. Lynden-Bell, Cambridge 1981
  • 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 frequently.
  • Quasar Astronomy, D.W. Weedman, Cambridge 1987. A good phenomonological review, including observational cosmology.
  • Nearly Normal Galaxies, ed. S.M. Faber, Springer 1987
  • Stellar Populations, ed. C. Norman, A. Renzini, and M. Tosi, Cambridge (STScI series) 1987
  • The Interstellar Medium in External Galaxies, ed. H. Thronson and J.M. Shull, Kluwer 1990
  • Astrophysics of Gaseous Nebulae and Active Galactic Nuclei, D.E. Osterbrock, University Science Books 1989. Detailed treatment of emission-line astrophysics; the new edition included extensive application to the context of QSO and AGN spectra. There is now a substantially extended 2nd edition (2006) coauthored with Gary Ferland.
  • Introduction to Active Galactic Nuclei, B.M. Peterson (Cambridge, 1997). The full text has been made available online, courtesy of the Cambridge University Press and NED.
  • The Road to Galaxy Formation, Keel (Springer-Praxis 2002). I will be trying out material for the second edition during the course.

    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.
    Discovery of galaxies »

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