Astro 3303 provides an overview of our current understanding of how galaxies
have evolved over the last 13+ billion years and how their evolution has been
influenced by their local intergalactic environment. We will look at the
evidence that links supermassive black holes, gas accretion and merger events
to galaxy evolution and tracks the star formation rate from early to current
epochs. Additional topics will include the formation and distribution of
clusters and groups of galaxies, the evidence for dark matter and how
galaxy evolution fits into the framework of current cosmological models. Emphasis
will be on understanding current and future observations of
galaxies, clusters and the dark matter halos they inhabit.
Class assignments will make use of current public databases like
the Virtual Astronomical Observatory and
the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
We will also examine the
possibilities for the exploration of galaxies across cosmic time
with future facilities like
Students will also have the opportunity to participate in some scheduled
observations with the Arecibo telescope (alas, remotely from here on
campus, not at the Observatory in Puerto Rico). This is an optional activity.
Tool for OPerations on Catalogues And Tables,
a JAVA application we will use to analyze data.