ASTRON 329/429: Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics, Fall 2017


– Midterm will be held in class on Tuesday, Oct. 24.
– Astron 429 students should see the end of this page for an update regarding the independent study, due Dec. 1st.

Slides shown in class:
Introduction, observational overview of galaxies, CMB discovery, Hubble’s Law
Neutrinos, dark matter
Distances in cosmology, constraints on dark energy from SNe Ia, CMB, and BOAs
Matter budget, galaxy rotation curves, galaxy clusters, lensing, halos
CMB slides: basic observations, power spectrum, physics of acoustic oscillations, Sachs-Wolfe effect, Silk damping, parameter estimation
Big Bang nucleosynthesis
Cosmic inflation

Additional reading:
– Ned Wright’s Cosmology Calculator is very handy for simple cosmological calculations
Riess et al. (1998) and Perlmutter et al. (1999) accelerating universe discovery papers
– A colloquium-level overview of the cosmological constant problem by Raphel Bousso
Leonard Susskind’s cosmology lectures at Stanford provide a complementary presentation of several of the concepts discussed in class
Loeb paper on the long-term future of extragalactic astronomy in an universe with a cosmological constant
Caldwell et al. paper on phantom energy — the fate of an universe with w less than -1 dark energy
– These slides by Hans Kristian Eriksen contain a clear introduction to the CMB angular power spectrum
– Wayne Hu gas several excellent CMB tutorials that are well worth reading to gain a deeper understanding
– Max Tegmark has several very instructive animations showing how the CMB power spectrum varies with cosmological parameters
This section of the ARA&A article by White, Scott & Silk (1994) gives a clear explanation of the Sachs-Wolfe effect giving rise to CMB temperature fluctuations on large scales
– Martin White has a good explanation of baryonic acoustic oscillations
– Daniel Eisenstein has more pedagogical material about the SDSS detection of BAOs

Problem sets:
Problem set 1, due Oct. 5. Solutions (credit: Alex Gurvich).
Problem set 2, due Oct. 19. Solutions
Problem set 3, due by Wed Nov. 8, 5 PM in Alex Gurvich’s mailbox. Solutions
Problem set 4, due by Wed Nov. 15, 5 PM in Alex Gurvich’s mailbox. Solutions
Problem set 5, due by Wed Nov. 22, 5 PM in Alex Gurvich’s mailbox. Solutions

For Astron 429 students, the independent study of chapters 11 and 12 will be due on Fri Dec. 1st. You have most of the background necessary to read the chapters already. Click here for the problems to complete for the independent study (updated from the syllabus).

Midterm solutions