College of LS&A

Winter Academic Term 2003 Graduate Course Guide

Note: You must establish a session for Winter Academic Term 2003 on wolverineaccess.umich.edu in order to use the link "Check Times, Location, and Availability". Once your session is established, the links will function.

Courses in Astronomy


This page was created at 8:07 PM on Wed, Feb 5, 2003.

Winter Academic Term, 2003 (January 6 - April 25)

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ASTRO 401. Solar System Astrophysics.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Charles R Cowley (cowley@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: PHYSICS 140 (or 160) and MATH 116, and prior or concurrent enrollment in PHYSICS 240 (or 260). A knowledge of one or more high-level languages (FORTRAN, C, Pascal) will be useful.(3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

30% of the course will be based on independent reading of William K. Hartman's Moons and Planets (second edition). The remaining 70% of the course will be based on material presented in the lectures. This is divided into three parts. Part I deals with the mechanics of the solar system, and covers topics such as the two-body problem, N-body relations, the virial theorem, potential about an oblate spheroid, equations of rigid-body motion, etc. Part II treats geochemistry and cosmochemistry with special reference to the solar system. Included topics are fundamental principles of thermodynamics and chemical reactions, meteorites, geochemical classification of the elements, models of the solar nebula, condensation sequences from the solar nebula and the composition of planets. Part III deals with planetary structure, and emphasizes comparative planetology of the moon and terrestrial planets. Weekly problem sets are assigned, some of which require running programs on the Astronomy LAN or PCs. While students are not required to write their own programs, a knowledge of one or more high-level languages (FORTRAN, C, Pascal) will be useful. The level of difficulty will be similar to that of junior and senior courses in physics and chemistry.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ASTRO 404. Galaxies and the Universe.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Margo Aller (mfa@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: MATH 216, and prior or concurrent enrollment in PHYSICS 340. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://www.astro.lsa.umich.edu/users/margo/Astro404.html

The topic of this course is the study of galaxies, the building blocks of the Universe. Because galaxies tie together physics from stellar to cosmological scales, they are excellent laboratories in which to develop a "big picture" view of astronomy. This course will spend approximately equal amounts of time on theory and observation, and will endeavor to present a broad and up-to-date view of the field. By the end of the course, you will be able to start reading journal articles and attending seminars and have a pretty good idea of what people are talking about. You should also be prepared to start doing original research.

This course is designed for science concentrators interested in a fairly serious introduction to the subject, and for upper-level Astronomy concentrators. You will need to have taken an introductory level Astronomy course (like ASTRO 160 or 112), calculus and basic differential equations (MATH 115, 116, and 216 or the equivalent), and general physics (the equivalent of PHYSICS 140/141, 240/241, and 340/341). ASTRO 402 (Stellar Astrophysics) is extremely useful background, but is not required.

Course requirements: There will be weekly homework assignments which will comprise 50% of your grade. There will also be weekly reading assignments. In addition, every student will do a final project which will comprise 25% of the grade. There will be a written report and a short (10-15 minute) presentation on the project. At the end of the course, there will be a take-home final exam which will comprise 25% of the grade. Several homework assignments and most final projects will be computer based, and will require basic knowledge of plotting software like IDL or Supermongo, and possibly some programming in Fortran, C, or C++. Developing these skills will be one of the goals of this course.

Textbooks:

  • Primary texts (in bookstore):
    An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, by Carroll & Ostlie
    Galaxies in the Universe, by Sparke & Gallagher
  • Optional text (in bookstore):
    Galaxy Formation, by M. Longair
  • Other supplementary texts (graduate level)
    Structure Formation in the Universe, by T. Padmanabhan
    Cosmological Physics, by J. Peacock
    Galactic Astronomy, by Binney & Merrifield

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ASTRO 534. The Extragalactic Universe.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Douglas O Richstone

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course provides an overview of the study of the physical universe as a whole and in terms of its component structures (galaxies and larger structures). It focuses particularly on the universe in the matter dominated epoch, and places emphasis on the dark matter component of the universe. Topics will include the structure and dynamics of the matter dominated universe, classical tests of the model, the early universe and the microwave epoch, probes of dark matter, estimation of cosmological parameters, gravitational lensing, clustering and large scale structure and formation and evolution of structure.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ASTRO 535. Astrophysics of the Interstellar Medium.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Joel N Bregman (jbregman@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://www.astro.lsa.umich.edu/users/jbregman/Ast535.html

In this course, we will discuss atomic and molecular processes, along with interactions of radiation and matter, and the latest pertinent observations will be applied toward understanding the physical, ionization, thermal, chemical, emission, and absorption properties of the interstellar medium. Attention will be given to fill regions, planetary nebulae, supernova remnants, cool neutral gas, molecular clouds, hot or X-ray-emitting gas, and particulate "dust" grains. In addition, the global and evolutionary properties of gas and dust in our Galaxy will be carefully examined.

Text: Diffuse Matter in the Universe.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

ASTRO 690. Theoretical Astrophysics.

Section 001.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (1-4). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (1-4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Special topics in Theoretical Astrophysics. Topics to be decided by instructor.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Instructor

ASTRO 691. Observational Astrophysics.

Section 001.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (1-4). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (1-4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Special topics in Observational Astrophysics. Topics to be decided by instructor.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Instructor

ASTRO 699. Special Problems.

Section 009 Dark Matter in the Universe: An Interdisciplinary Seminar. Meets with Statistics 701.001 and Philosophy 596.

Instructor(s): Mario Mateo (mateo@umich.edu), Jim Joyce , Michael Woodroofe (michaelw@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (1-8). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (1-8).

Course Homepage: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jjoyce/dark.html

Dark matter is matter whose existence astronomers infer from its gravitational effects on visible matter. Current estimates are that majority of matter in the universe is dark, and its physical constitution remains a matter of controversy among astronomers. The course will focus on a current research project, conducted jointly by Professors Mario Mateo in Astronomy, Jim Joyce in Philosophy, and Michael Woodroofe in Statistics, to map the distribution of dark matter in galaxies close to the Milky Way. The data will consist of positions and spectral information from a sample of a few thousand stars. The data pose interesting statistical questions. The main one is a difficult inverse problem in which one attempts to infer the mass distribution, primarily from the radial velocities of stars (which can be determined from the data). In addition, there are questions of potential biases in the data. The problem of dark matter raises interesting philosophical and methodological questions about the process of confirming scientific hypotheses in contexts where existing theory generates a wide range of alternative explanations of the available empirical data.

The course will meet Wednesdays (and on a few selected Mondays and Fridays) from 2:00-3:00 pm in 330 Dennison. The Wednesday lectures will be of general interest, accessible to graduate students and faculty in all three disciplines and feature lectures by outside speakers as well as the investigators. The Monday and Friday meeting may be more technical. Students electing the course for full credit will be expected to complete a course project, like reading a relevant paper and reporting on it to the group. To the extent possible, students from different disciplines will work jointly as a team on a single project.

The research is expected to last for 2-3 years, and this class to be followed by an interdisciplinary seminar centered on it. It is expected that potential thesis topics will be identified during the period.

For further information contact Professor Jim Joyce (jjoyce@umich.edu), Mario Mateo, (mateo@astro.lsa.umich.edu), or Michael Woodroofe (michaelw@umich.edu).

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Department


Undergraduate Course Listings for ASTRO.


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