ASTRON 329/429: Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics, Fall 2015


Announcements: – Midterm will be held in class on Oct. 27. Closed books.

– 10/28/15 update: Here are the midterm and midterm solutions. To obtain your actual percentage grade for the midterm, calculate min(1.33*G, 100%) if you are registered for Astron 329 or min(1.27*G, 100%) if you are registered for Astron 429, where G is your percentage grade before adjustment. With these renormalizations, the midterm averages are 80% for both Astron 329 and Astron 429.

Slides shown in class:
Observational overview (including CMB discovery and Hubble’s law)

Expansion and geometry of the universe, overview of structure formation

Distances in cosmology, evidence for dark energy

Inventory of baryons, dynamical evidence for dark matter

Cosmic microwave background, baryon acoustic oscillations

Big Bang nucleosynthesis


Additional reading:
Review article on large-scale structure in of the Universe

Contraints on cosmology from ages of globular clusters

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

Vera Rubin article in Physics Today about her discovery of flat galaxy rotation curves

Leonard Susskind’s lectures at Stanford provide a complementary presentation of several of the concepts discussed in class

Cole Miller’s Saha equation notes

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

Ned Wright’s Cosmology Calculator is a very handy for simple cosmological calculations

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. 8. Solutions (credit: Cody Dirks).

Problem set 2, due Oct. 22. Solutions

Problem set 3, due Nov. 3. Solutions

Problem set 4, due Nov. 12. Solutions

Problem set 5, due Nov. 24. Solutions