This class is an introduction to the modern extragalactic astronomy and cosmology, i.e., the part of astrophysics that deals with the structure and evolution of the universe as a whole, and its major constituents: dark matter, dark energy, galaxies, quasars, large-scale structure, and intergalactic gas. It will cover the subjects including: relativistic cosmological models and their parameters, extragalactic distance scale, cosmological tests, composition of the universe, dark matter, and dark energy; the hot big bang, cosmic nucleosynthesis, recombination, and cosmic microwave background; formation and evolution of structure in the universe; galaxy clusters, large-scale structure and its evolution; galaxies, their properties and fundamental correlations; formation and evolution of galaxies; star formation history of the universe; quasars and other active galactic nuclei, and their evolution; structure and evolution of the intergalactic medium; diffuse extragalactic backgrounds; the first stars, galaxies, and the reionization era. It corresponds to the Ay 21 class taught at Caltech.
Galaxies and Cosmology
The lecture schedule and topics covered by this class are given below. There is no midterm or final for this class, but there are graded quizzes at the end of each week based on lecture material.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Cosmology as a science
An overview of the modern cosmology and its history
Units, fluxes, and magnitudes
Chapter 2: Basics of Relativistic Cosmology
Basic concepts of General Relativity
Symmetry assumptions: homogeneity and isotropy
The cosmological redshift
Comoving and proper coordinates
Definitions of cosmological parameters
Chapter 3: Cosmological Models
Computing cosmological models
Distances in cosmology
Basics of cosmological tests
The cosmic horizons
Chapter 4: Distance Scale, Age of the Universe, and the Universal Expansion
Distance scale and the Hubble constant
The age of the universe
Tests of the universal expansion
Chapter 5: Cosmological Tests
Classical cosmological tests and their problems
Modern tests (non-CMBR)
Tests using CMBR fluctuations
Chapter 6: The hot Big Bang and the Thermal History of the Universe
Planck era and beyond
Chapter 7: Contents of the Universe
Luminous matter, M/L ratios
Dark energy, cosmological constant and quintessence
Chapter 8: Structure Formation: Theory
Density fluctuations, power spectrum, growth, damping
Dark matter dependence of cosmogony; Cold Dark Matter
Collapse of density fluctuations
The role of cooling; galaxies vs. clusters and LSS
Chapter 9: Observations of Large Scale Structure
Measurements of galaxy clustering and LSS
Chapter 10: Large Scale Structure and Clusters of Galaxies
Evolution of clustering
Galaxy clusters and their properties
Chapter 11: Galaxies, Their Structure and Properties (I)
The professor was able to condense a massive amount of information in a series of short lectures over a relatively brief period of nine weeks. He tried to keep it as concise and "non-mathematical" as possible with most of the information being...
The professor was able to condense a massive amount of information in a series of short lectures over a relatively brief period of nine weeks. He tried to keep it as concise and "non-mathematical" as possible with most of the information being descriptive and graphical. Equations and small proofs were included but the course did not require you to do any extensive mathematical exercises or derivations. Although, one could if they pleased go to the university website and get the problem sets from there or alternatively purchase one of the proposed textbooks and solve the problems from the relevant chapters. All in all a great course and an excellent explainer (Prof. Djorgovski). Highly recommended if you have an interest in modern cosmology and galactic evolution.
Kristina Šekrst completed this course and found the course difficulty to be hard.
This course requires much prior knowledge and calculus, but it's worth while. Professor participated in the forums, and the assignments were fun. I've learned a lot, and this is a must-enroll for advanced astrophysics!