Prof. Arlin Crotts

The Universe is much bigger than it was 25 years ago; suddenly we have many more ways of investigating the physical nature of the Cosmos. Consequently, we are answering some basic questions. This is due in part to major advances in the technology of astronomical observation, but due as well to new cross-fertilization between astrophysics and particle physics. Additionally, there are many clever ideas that have cropped up recently due to neither effect; maybe more people are simply more excited about cosmology these days.

This course deals with extragalactic objects in a cosmological context, both as probes of cosmological models and as evolving objects over cosmic time. Many new observations relate to both aspects. The upshot of all these recent developments is that no textbook exists that covers the whole, current field. Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology by Schneider summarizes galaxies and active galactic nuclei in a cosmological context. In truth, much of the material is too recent to be found in any textbook. Much material will only be covered in the lecture notes (photocopies of the lecture viewgraphs).

To accomodate the more recent material, about 10% of the course will consist of a "journal club" where members of the class report (for about 20 minutes at a time) on papers that interest them. These are selected from the list at the back of this course description (or choose your own! - consult with Dr. Crotts first). Depending on class size, each student will present two or three of these during the semester. Dr. Crotts will lecture the bulk of the remaining time (expect some guest lecturers for some of special topics); there will be a final which counts for 50% of the course grade, and a short midterm quiz. A few problem sets will also be assigned. Attendance is important!

Course Outline

APPROXIMATE TIMELINE (please don't hold us to this!):

Week 1: I.A - I.C
Week 2: I.D
Week 3: I.E - II.A
Week 4: II.A - II.B
Week 5: II.C - II.D
Week 6: II.E - II.F
Week 7: III.A
Week 8: III.B
Week 9: III.C - III.D
Week 10: IV
Week 11: V
Week 12: VI
Week 13: VII

REQUIRED TEXTS (on reserve and in the Columbia bookstore):

Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology Peter Schneider 2006 (Springer, ISBN-10 3-540-33174-3, hardcover). We will skip much of Chapter 2 on the Galaxy, and other sections will be taken in a somewhat different order that presented in the book. Nonetheless this is a good representation of the overall material that will be covered in the course. Schneider pays perhaps more attention to gravitational lensing than we are likely to (not surprising given Schneider's interests), but we will discuss lensing at several opportunities.

BACKUP TEXTS (on reserve in the 8th floor Pupin Library):

Galaxies and Cosmology Françoise Combes, Patrick Boissé, Alain Mazure and Alain Blanchard 2004 (Springer, ISBN 3-540-41927-6, hardcover). We will discuss chapters on the classification and morphology of galaxies, kinematics and masses of galaxies, interactions between galaxies, extragalactic radio sources, quasars and other active galactic nuclei, quasar absorption-line systems, the universe as a whole, and cosmology. The chapters on large scale structure and on cosmology overlap somewhat with material covered in Astronomy G6005 Physical Cosmology, while the chapters on the structure of elliptical, spiral and barred galaxies overlap with Astronomy G6003 Galactic Structure and the interstellar medium is the topic of both G6003 and G6002 Interstellar Medium.
Modern Cosmology Scott Dodelson 2003 (Academic Press, ISBN 0-12-219141-2, hardcover). Many of you took Astro G6005 and presumably have this book, which does a better job than Combes et al. in describing classical cosmological tests as they relate to using extragalactic objects to probe cosmological models. Much of this material is also covered in class notes.

Galaxies in the Universe: An Introduction Linda S. Sparke and John S. Gallagher 2000 (Cambridge, 0-521-59740-4, paperback) This is presented at the upper-undergraduate level, and would be helpful here if the student needs a quick introduction or refresher in the astronomical background to the study of galaxies. The book covers basic astrophysics, multiwavelength observations, and some theoretical concepts, in the following chapters: mapping our Milky Way, orbits of the stars, the local group, spiral and S0 galaxies, ellipticals, large-scale galaxian distribution, active galactic nuclei and early history of galaxies.


"Cosmological Applications of Gravitational Lenses" R.D. Blandford, R. Narayan 1993, Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrop., 30, 311.

"A Critical Review of Selected Techniques for Measuring Extragalactic Distances" G.H. Jacoby, D. Branch, R. Ciardullo, R.L. Davies, W.E. Harris, M.J. Pierce, C.J. Pritchet, J.L. Tonry, D.L. Welch 1992, Proc. Astron. Soc. Pac., 104, 570.