Pages last updated: 2012-01-05 by Rogier A. Windhorst

AST 422, Astrophysics II - OBSERVATIONAL COSMOLOGY - Spring 2012 - 20570

Instructor: Regents' and Foundation Professor Rogier A. Windhorst.

Location and Time: PSF-226; TuTh 3:00-4:15 pm. We will reserve Mo or Fr 3:00-4:15 pm (TBC) as a backup time slot, that will be ONLY be used in those weeks where I need to travel on Tu or Fr. This will minimize my travel impact on the class. For now, I expect that I need to use the backup slots during the weeks of Mo Mar. 12--Fr. Mar. 16 and Tu. Apr. 10--Fr Apr. 13, and TBD.

Office hours: Tu 4:15--5:00 pm, all in room PSF-246/248.

Phone numbers: 480 965 7143 (office). Messages can also be left in my mailbox in room PSF-686, or with Cosmology Coordinator Sr., Mr. Scott E. Smas in room GWC-514 (480-965-9416).

Email: Since I am often swamped with Emails, I apologize that I cannot always answer them individually. However, I WILL discuss your questions with the TA and in class every week, and update the class web-page as needed. So please keep an eye out for modified webpages (see the ``Pages last updated'' at the top/bottom), and be in contact with your TA to help get all your questions answered.

TA: Mr. Brent Smith (room PSF-276) is available for part of his time to help with H/W grading. His Email address is , and his office hours: Th 4:15-5:00 pm in PSF-276.

{\ksmbf Textbooks:} Modern cosmology deals with $\sim10^{80}$ particles and $10^{89}$ photons in a volume that is currently $\sim 10^{120}\times$ that of the electron, and describes an era $\sim 10^{60}\times$ longer than the Planck time. This is why no-one has a complete grasp of the subject, so there is no good modern textbook on cosmology. I spent quite some time to find textbooks on (observational) cosmology that are acceptable, and came up with the following:

$\bullet$ (1) ``Introduction to Cosmology'', by Barbara Ryden [hereafter abbreviated as Ry], 2002, Addison Wesley (New York), ISBN=0-8053-8912-1, hardcover, costs about $ 64. This is a relatively new book (as of late fall 2002) with a good up-to-date discussion of modern cosmology including the basic Friedmann-Robertson-Walker frame-work. However, it does not address all relevant aspects of observational cosmology, which is why I suggest that we use Longair's book as complementary source of material. The important parts to fetch from Ryden's book are chapter 3-10, which provide a more modern framework of Lambda-dominated and equation-of-state cosmologies, while Longair mostly discusses the classical $\Lambda$=0 Friedmann models.

$\bullet$ (2) ``Galaxy Formation'', by Malcolm S. Longair [hereafter abbreviated as ML] 1998, Springer Verlag (Berlin), ISBN=3-540-63785-0, hardcover costs about $ 90. This is a remarkably good book that strikes an appropriate balance between modern theories and modern observations, without getting lost in unnecessary details. It is about the best relatively modern book available that lays the foundations for observational cosmology. Written by one of the most gifted observational astronomers in the UK. Since it came out in late 1998, it doesn't deal with the latest Lambda-dominated and equation-of-state cosmologies, which is why we will mostly lean on book (1).

If you take this course for a grade, I want you to read both book (1) and (2). The TA will xerox the relevant parts of other materials in the few occasions were books (1) and (2) are not sufficient. Sharing books is fine with me (as long as you don't borrow them from my bookshelf the day before class!).

Other books on Cosmology that are useful, but by no means complete, nor up-to-date, nor unbiased, are listed below. These are not mandatory, but will used occasionally as reference during the semester. Where necessary, the TA will provide you with copies of a few of the relevant pages:

$\bullet$ (3) ``Cosmology'', Third Edition, by Michael Rowan-Robinson [hereafter abbreviated as RR], 1996, Oxford University Press (New York), ISBN=0-19-851884-6, cost is about $ 30. This is modern cosmology in a nutshell at the upper undergraduate level. Despite the biases that this well-respected author has in certain areas, this book is remarkably complete and useful, and reasonably up-to-date, and doesn't make you feel lost theoretically. In 160 pages, it can only touch the main issues at the AST 422 level.

$\bullet$ (4) ``The Deep Universe, by A. R. Sandage, R. G. Kron, and M. S. Longair, 1995, Eds. B. Binggeli, R. Buser, Saas Fee Advanced Course 23, Lecture Notes 1993. Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy, Springer Verlag (Berlin), 528 pages, 18 Figures, 12 Tables. ISBN = 3-540-58913-9. ( ). This used to sell for $ 59 (hardcover), but is now out of stock. Only 800 copies were printed. I have permission from Sandage himself (the grand-master of observational cosmology) to Xerox the relevant parts of this book for you, which we distribute at cost.

$\bullet$ (5) ``Principle of Physical Cosmology'' by P. J. E. Peebles, 1993, Princeton University Press (Princeton), ISBN=0-691-01933-9. Costs about $ 33. Written by one of the great theoretical cosmologists of our time, and bears his stamp as such. This book is too detailed theoretically for a one semester course, and somewhat sporadic on the observational front. Issues are not always discussed in logical order, and it discusses at length some of the obsolete ideas in cosmology from the last century, so one sometimes can't see the trees through the forest. Nonetheless, a must have for those who continue in the field.

$\bullet$ (6) ``Cosmology: The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structure'' by P. Coles and F. Lucchin, 1996, Wiley (New York), ISBN=0-471-95473-X, costs about $ 58. In-depth, modern theoretical treaty of cosmology, but comparison to the modern data in cosmology is not up-to-date.

$\bullet$ (7) ``The Big Bang'', by Joe Silk, 1989, W. H. Freeman and Co (New York), ISBN=0-7167-1812-X. Costs about $ 20. Good general treaty on the subject by one of the world's best theorists in the field, although at the undergraduate level and without formulae in the main text. Relevant formulae are in an Appendix (that constitutes a nice source for exam questions!). No systematic attempt is made to compare theories to modern data, but where it is done, it is done well.

$\bullet$ (8) ``The Early Universe'', by Rocky Kolb and Michael Turner, 1990, 1994, Addison-Wesley (New York), ISBN=0-201-62674-8. Costs about $ 25. Exquisite theoretical but mathematically difficult treaty of the Big-Bang, written by two experts in the field of theoretical cosmology. Has some nice transitions to modern observations, although only in certain areas, while other important ones are lacking (yet in many respects better than any of the other books). Certainly the most funny and entertaining of all cosmology books.

$\bullet$ (9) ``Introduction to Cosmology'', by Jayant Narlikar, 1983, Jones and Bartlett (New York), ISBN=0-86720-015-4. Costs about $ 40. Despite its age, still a remarkably useful text in both theoretical and observational cosmology, written by a senior theoretical cosmologist, who is a supporter of one of the alternative cosmologies, although he does a remarkably fair job depicting the `standard model'. His treaty of general relativity is particularly understandable and useful.

{\ksmbf Syllabus:} An outline for AST 422 is given in the attached syllabus. We will follow this schedule in principle, but changes may be announced later. I will also attach parts of AST 422, Astrophysics IV, on Active Galactic Nuclei, since I will need to draw on some of this material for the Observational Cosmology course. Since a full course on AGN doesn't exist yet, I will present some of the necessary material on AGN as we go. The remainder belongs in a special graduate course on AGN. I do not expect to finish all the material on AGN, which is why it is scheduled last in this semester, but we will need to get to the essential parts on AGN.

{\ksmbf Class Web Page:} The Class Web Page will be at: with a backup mirror site at: in case the main SESE server is down.

WARNING-1: This site is under development, and I will attempt to make it work and update it during the semester. A printed list of interesting and potentially relevant Web-sites is attached to the syllabus below.

WARNING-2: Most of modern theoretical cosmology was developed from 1910-today (with the main analytical framework in place by 1965) and most of observational cosmology from 1960-today. Hence, my most important message to you is that Cosmology is NOT a point-and-click science, so there is remarkably little about cosmology you can learn and fully understand from the WWW if you haven't first properly digested a complete textbook on cosmology. So please do NOT focus the study for this class on the Web -- you will get lost and miss the essentials. You will notice quickly that it is far more important for this class to have understood a given problem, than to come up with Web-material that does little to enhance your understanding of the problem. The only time that Web-use is essential or appropriate is when you prepare for the term project and retrieve modern papers on the subject.

{\ksmbf Lecture Notes:} Somewhat outdated lecture notes on Observational Cosmology and on Active Galactic Nuclei were made by Dr. Chris Impey (UofA) in 1997-1999. These can distributed for about $ 26, the nominal Xerox costs. They do however, not replace the books or my own viewgraphs on the latest relevant materials, including several recent review articles and conference proceedings. As much as possible, I will try to distribute my viewgraphs on paper before, or shortly after, each lecture, when these are not available in the book or in a paper on the Web. You are advised to make your own notes as well.

{\ksmbf Prerequisites:} Basic physics and math at the 200-300 level. I will try to limit the math on GR in the first part of the course before spring-break (or we'll never get to the important parts on galaxy formation and evolution). I designed AST 422 so that you can follow it without yet having done all the other extragalactic AST 400-level courses, although you will need to take these in the future if you haven't already done so.

{\ksmbf Homework Questions and Term Project:} There will be a regular series of homework questions, most of which will need to be completed by spring-break or shortly thereafter. There will also be a Term Project, which will entail writing an ApJ Letter style paper on a cosmology subject of your choice, and which will be due two weeks before the final. All of this must be your own work, although you should consult the literature, and may discuss it with others. Copying from others or from (poor!) Web-sources is not allowed -- I want to grade you on how well you understand the material, not how well you can copy. I am open to other suggestions as to how you want to be tested on the subject. As this is a fairly new undergraduate course under development in a rapidly evolving field, I particularly covet your feedback at the beginning of the semester, and throughout, as to what can be done better.

H/W Set 0: Planck Time

H/W Set 0b: Surface Brightness (R)

H/W Set 0c: Delta rho/rho (R)

H/W Set 1: Olbers paradox

H/W Set 1b: Age of Universe

H/W Set 3.0: Dark Lenses

H/W Set 3.1-3.7: Ryden Ch 3-4

H/W Set 4: Ryden Ch 5

H/W Set 6: Ryden Ch 6

{\ksmbf Final Exam:} There will be a final exam, of about equal weight as the Home-work Questions and the Term Project. It is possible that the final will become a take-home exam (see below). The fairly extensive set of home-work problems takes the place of a mid-term exam, so there is no midterm exam. Exam times, etc., will be announced later, but tentative dates are listed in the syllabus.

{\ksmbf Final Grade:} The final grade will be based on a maximum of approximately 150-200 points for the Homework Questions, 150 points for the Term Project, and 150 points for the Final Exam, with a maximum score of 450-500 points. For undergraduate courses, the grades are likely not on a curve, but closer to a straight scale.

{\ksmbf Due Dates:} To avoid overloading the TA and myself in the grading of all materials at the end of the semester, all due dates listed in the syllabus will be strictly adhered to. In particular, I will not allow the final exam to become a take-home exam, unless all the previous materials are turned in by their due-dates. You may consider yourself as collectively earning the final to become a take-home exam, if and only if all other materials are turned in by their due-dates.


Because I am further developing this class as we go, I only give a tentative list here of what we will do in each week [which I have labeled below by the date of each Tuesday this semester]. Changes to this schedule will occur as we go:

[Jan. 05] $\bullet$ (0) [Ch. Ry 1-2; ML 1-2] Introduction. Big issues in modern cosmology. Main evidence for a hot Big Bang.

[Jan. 10] $\bullet$ (1) [Ch. Ry 2; ML, 2-3] Basic galaxy properties. The Hubble sequence. The galaxy luminosity function. The extragalactic distance scale: history, results, controversy, and its resolution. Cosmological parameters: $H_0$, $q_0$, $\Omega_0$, $\Lambda$, k, $t_0$; $T_0$, n, $z_f$, $z_{reion}$, $\Delta T$. How combinations describe the Universe. The value of $H_0$ and $t_0$. How Large Scale Structure effects the distance scale. Recent supernova results.

[Jan. 17] $\bullet$ (2) [Ch. Ry --; ML 4] Clusters of galaxies and Large Scale Structure. Peculiar velocities. Groups, clusters, super-clusters. Topology of the universe. Galaxy correlation functions. Cluster X-ray emission. Dark Matter in galaxy clusters. Simulations. The evolution of galaxy clustering with cosmic time.

[Jan. 24] $\bullet$ (3) [Ch. Ry 3-4; ML 5-6] Synopsis of Relativistic Cosmology. Friedman - Robertson-Walker models. Olbers paradox. Redshift: origin and measurement. General Relativity as Theory of Gravity. Standard and non-standard cosmological models. The cosmological observables we want to predict.

[Jan. 31-Feb. 07] $\bullet$ (4) [Ch. Ry 5-7; ML 5, 7-8] Single Component Universes. Multiple Component Universes. The classical cosmological tests: Hubble's law. Angular diameters and $\Theta$-z. Direct physical measurements of $H_o$, $q_o$, $\Omega_0$, $\Lambda$, etc. The age problem revisited. Applications of models to counts, redshift distributions, Hubble diagrams, and the EBL/CIB. Models with and without Cosmological Constant, and with and without equation of state.

[Feb. 14--Feb. 21] $\bullet$ (5) [Ch. Ry 9-10; ML 9-10, 15] Evidence for a hot Big Bang. Homogeneity and Isotropy. Photon/Baryon ratio. Helium production and nucleosynthesis. The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CBR): Black-Body nature, large and small scale fluctuations, measurements and upper limits, confrontation with models for structure formation. Recent Boomerang, Maxima, and WMAP results.

[Feb. 28] $\bullet$ (6) [Ch. Ry 1, 11; ML 20] The Early Universe. The Planck time. Horizon problem. Inflation. The Grand Unified Theory. Lepton and Baryon production. Nature of Dark Matter. Domain walls and cosmic strings. Magnetic monopoles and axions, and other topics that you may not choose for your term project.

[Mar. 06] $\bullet$ (7) [Ch. Ry 8, 12; ML 11-12, 15] The epoch of recombination. Surviving Jeans masses. The formation of galaxies and large scale structure. Large and small scale structure of the CBR. Epoch of reionization or reheating. Linear and non-linear growth of fluctuations into galaxies. $\Lambda$CDM and hierarchical simulations.

[Mar. 13] $\bullet$ (8) [Ch. Ry 12; ML 14, 17, 18] Distant galaxies. Galaxy surveys. Redshift surveys. Galaxy counts, colors and clustering. The morphological and spectral evolution of galaxies with cosmic time. Initial mass function. Star formation rate. The evolution of stellar populations.

[Mar. 19-23] $\bullet$ Spring Break: First part of all home-work problems due on March 20.

[Mar. 27] $\bullet$ (9) [Ch. Ry 8, 12; ML 13, 18] The epoch(s) of galaxy formation. Galaxy formation from sub-galactic clumps. Confrontation with Cold Dark Matter models. Dark Matter and gravitational lensing. Where are the proto-galaxies? The oldest galaxy ages and the globular cluster problem.

[Apr. 03] $\bullet$ (10) [Ch. Ry --; ML 18-19] The Intergalactic Medium (IGM). Quasar absorption lines. Lyman-$\alpha$ and metal systems. Growth of metallicity in the IGM. Star formation rate, luminosity density, and metal production as function of cosmic epoch.

[Apr. 10] $\bullet$ (11) [Ch. Ry --; ML 16] The Dark Ages: the Universe at z$\ge$ 7-17. The ionizing UV-background. Population III stars. The neutral Hydrogen absorption edge and emission web. Did AGN precede or cause galaxy formation? The sub-mm and cosmic IR backgrounds. Prospects to find pre-galactic objects with the JWST, Spitzer, ALMA, SKA, LOFAR, etc. Suggestions for Dissertation topics.

[Apr. 10] Last part of home-work problems due on this date.

[Apr. 17] $\bullet$ (12) [Ch. Ry --; ML 17] Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN): Seyfert's + QSO's; Radio galaxies + Quasars. LINERS. The central engine of AGN. Supermassive black holes. Morphology of extragalactic radio sources. Buoyancy in clusters. Compact sources as rigid rods. The unified picture of AGN.

[Apr. 17] $\bullet$ Term project due on this date.

[Apr. 24] $\bullet$ (13) [Ch. Ry --; ML 17] The cosmological evolution of AGN: Radio sources, Quasars, X-ray sources. Constraints from source counts and luminosity functions. Relation of AGN to high redshift galaxies. Alignment effect. Did AGN cause galaxy formation? The co-evolution of supermassive black-holes (SMBH's) and galaxy bulges. Relation between cosmological and galaxy evolution. Epoch dependent merger rate and $\Lambda$CDM.

[Apr. 24] $\bullet$ (14) Spare Day -- used for overflow. Schedule (new) material that came up or material that could not be totally covered during the semester.

[May 24] $\bullet$ Review of material. Discussion of term projects.

FINAL EXAM: Thursday, Apr. 26, 12:10--2:00 PM in PSF-226. (Or at an earlier or later date if we can all agree on one). We may instead do a take-home exam, provided that all home-work and term-projects are turned in by the deadlines.

================================================================================ WWW addresses used in AST 422, Astrophysics II --- OBSERVATIONAL COSMOLOGY (List under development) ================================================================================

(This page) (N. Wright Cosmo calculator): (N. Wright Adv Cosmo calculator): (Papers on Astrop. Data System): (Preprints on LANL astro-ph): (NASA HQ home page): (All NASA missions): (Satellite Weather images): (Astro Picture Of the Day): (Faint Blue Galaxy Mystery): (Galaxy Building Blocks): (Ultraviolet Galaxies): (End of the Dark Ages): (Hubble's new Wide Fields Camera 3): (Gravitational Lensing at z>8--10): (Space Telescope Science Institute): (Space Telescope Science Institute): (Best of Hubble Space Telescope): (Detailed list of Hubble images): (NASA's James Webb Space Telescope): (James Webb Space Telescope at ASU): (Hubble Space Telescope images relevant to AST 112, 422, AST 533/598 can be found on): (Hubble Press releases occur every week, so list below is not updated!)
(Other useful links)
(Back to top of this list): ================================================================================

    Pages last updated: 2012-01-05 by Rogier A. Windhorst