The application of physics to the understanding of astronomical phenomena related to galaxies. Dynamics and structure of stellar systems: the virial theorem and Jeans' equations and their applications; galaxy rotation and the presence of dark matter in the universe; spiral density waves. The stellar content of galaxies: star formation and the principle of stellar population synthesis. Physical processes in the gaseous interstellar medium: photoionization and HII regions and emission lines; shocks in supernova remnants and stellar jets; energy balance in molecular clouds. Quasars and active galactic nuclei: synchroton radiation; accretion disks; supermassive black holes. Students are involved in the course in discussion, oral presentations, and lab projects. The course is being taught at a higher level than a non-honors course, and a strong background in physics and math is required.
4 semesters of physics. PHYSIC 421 or equivalent strongly recommended; proficiency in calculus (differentiation, integration, differential equations)