Galactic Astronomy / Edition 1

Galactic Astronomy / Edition 1

1.0 1
by James Binney, Michael Merrifield

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ISBN-10: 0691025657

ISBN-13: 9780691025650

Pub. Date: 08/17/1998

Publisher: Princeton University Press

This is the definitive treatment of the phenomenology of galaxies—a clear and comprehensive volume that takes full account of the extraordinary recent advances in the field. The book supersedes the classic text Galactic Astronomy that James Binney wrote with Dimitri Mihalas, and complements Galactic Dynamics by Binney and Scott Tremaine. It will be invaluable


This is the definitive treatment of the phenomenology of galaxies—a clear and comprehensive volume that takes full account of the extraordinary recent advances in the field. The book supersedes the classic text Galactic Astronomy that James Binney wrote with Dimitri Mihalas, and complements Galactic Dynamics by Binney and Scott Tremaine. It will be invaluable to researchers and is accessible to any student who has a background in undergraduate physics.

The book draws on observations both of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and of external galaxies. The two sources are complementary, since the former tends to be highly detailed but difficult to interpret, while the latter is typically poorer in quality but conceptually simpler to understand. Binney and Merrifield introduce all astronomical concepts necessary to understand the properties of galaxies, including coordinate systems, magnitudes and colors, the phenomenology of stars, the theory of stellar and chemical evolution, and the measurement of astronomical distances. The book's core covers the phenomenology of external galaxies, star clusters in the Milky Way, the interstellar media of external galaxies, gas in the Milky Way, the structure and kinematics of the stellar components of the Milky Way, and the kinematics of external galaxies.

Throughout, the book emphasizes the observational basis for current understanding of galactic astronomy, with references to the original literature. Offering both new information and a comprehensive view of its subject, it will be an indispensable source for professionals, as well as for graduate students and advanced undergraduates.

Product Details

Princeton University Press
Publication date:
Princeton Series in Astrophysics Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.70(d)

Table of Contents


1 Galaxies: an overview
1.1 Introduction 1
1.2 A brief history of galactic astronomy 2
   Photometric models of the Milky Way 5
   The nature of the spiral nebulae 10
   Kinematic models of the Milky Way 15
   Stellar populations 20
   More recent developments 21

2 Astronomical Measurements
2.1 Positions, motions and coordinate systems 27
   The equatorial system 27
   Galactic coordinates 30
   Parallax 31
   Proper motions 34
   Precession and nutation 35
   Astrometric systems 37
2.2 Distances determined from velocities 38
   Radial velocities 39
   Distances from the movingcluster method 40
   Secular parallaxes 42
   Statistical parallaxes 45
2.3 Magnitudes and colors 46
   Apparent magnitudes 47
   Colors 52
   Absolute magnitudes 56
   Absolute energy distributions
   and bolometric magnitudes 58
   Mass-to-light ratios 60
   Surface brightness and isophotal radii 61
2.4 Gravitational lensing 62
2.5 Archival data and catalogs 67
   On-line resources 71
Problems 74

3 The Properties of Stars
3.1 The masses of stars 76
   The Mass of the Sun 77
   Masses of binary stars 78
   Visual binaries 78
   Spectroscopic binaries79
3.2 The radii of stars 82
   Phase interferometry 82
   Intensity interferometry 83
   Speckle interferometry 83
   Lunar occultations 84
   Eclipsing binaries 84
   Astrophysical estimates 86
3.3 Classification of stars 87
   Novae 87
   Pulsars 87
   Classification of stellar spectra 88
   The MK system 90
3.4 Physical interpretation of stellar spectra 94
3.5 Color-magnitude diagrams 102
   Observed CM-diagrams 103
   Luminosity and color as functions of spectral class 104
   The physical properties of stars on the MS and RGB 109
3.6 The stellar luminosity function 109
   Malmquist bias 111
   Lutz-Kelker Bias 115
   The general luminosity function 119
   Cluster luminosity functions 119
   Photometrically complete surveys 119
   Proper-motion selected surveys 120
   The luminosity function of a given MK spectral class 127
   Catalogs of the nearby stars 130
3.7 Interstellar dust 131
   Extinction and reddening 133
   Reddening-free indices 138
   Polarization of starlight by dust 140
   Extinction of sightlines out of the Galaxy 140
Problems 143

4 Morphology of Galaxies
4.1 Morphological classification of galaxies 146
   The Hubble sequence 149
    Effects of environment 157
   The galaxy luminosity function 162
   The field galaxy luminosity function 162
   The cluster galaxy luminosity function 165
   The luminosity function divided by morphological type 167
   The Local Group 169
4.2 Surface Photometry of Galaxies 172
   The night sky 173
   Effect of seeing 176
   Deprojecting galaxy images 179
4.3 Photometry of Elliptical Galaxies 185
   Radial surface-brightness profiles of elliptical galaxies 185
   cD galaxies 186
   Dwarf elliptical galaxies 190
   Centers of elliptical galaxies 191
   Color and line-strength gradients in elliptical galaxies 193
   Shapes of elliptical galaxies 194
   Ellipticity 194
   Deviations from ellipses 199
   Fine structure 201
   Correlations among global parameters of elliptical galaxies 204
   The Dn - [Sigma]0 correlation 209
   Dwarf elliptical galaxies 209
4.4 Photometry of Disk Galaxies 210
   Photometric effects of dust 211
   Overall shapes of disk galaxies 212
   Bulge-disk decomposition 214
   Shapes of bulges 222
   Color and metallicity gradients in disk galaxies 223
   Spiral structure in disk galaxies 224
   Barred galaxies 228
    Vertical structure of bars 231
   Rings in SB galaxies 233
   Dust lanes in SB galaxies 234
   Lop-sidedness in SB galaxies 234
4.5 Globular cluster systems 235
   Globular cluster luminosity function 236
   Specific frequency of globular clusters 237
   Radial density profiles and shapes 238
   Color distributions 239
4.6 Abnormal galaxies 241
   Starbursting systems 241
   Systems with active galactic nuclei 244
   Host galaxies of AGN 250
   The unified model of AGN 251
Problems 255

5 Evolution of Stars and Stellar Populations
5.1 Stellar evolution and the CM diagram 259
   Placing models in the CM diagram 262
   Features in the CM diagram 263
   Characteristic initial masses 267
   Bounding curves in the CM diagram 274
   Dependence of CM diagrams upon metallicity 276
   The cosmic helium abundance 279
   Simple numerical relations 279
   Star formation 281
   The initial mass function 283
   Pulsating stars 287
   Classical Cepheid variables 289
   Mira variables 292
   W Virginis stars 293
   RR Lyrae stars 293
5.2 Synthesis of the chemical elements 296
   Basic nuclear physics 296
   Metal production at Mi < Mup 301
    Supernovae 302
   Metal production by core-collapse supernovae 303
   Metal production by type Ia supernovae 305
5.3 Models of chemical enrichment 306
   The closed-box model 306
   The leaky-box model 308
   The accreting-box model 313
5.4 Evolution of stellar populations 314
   Analytical results 315
   Numerical models of population evolution 317
Problems 324

6 Star clusters
6.1 Globular clusters 327
   Globular cluster stellar photometry 332
   Color-magnitude diagrams 334
   The main sequence and subgiant branch 335
   The horizontal branch 337
   Comparison with Theoretical CM diagrams 339
   Globular cluster ages 344
   Turnoff point ages 344
   Isochrone fitting 345
   The [Delta]V method 346
   The [Delta](B-V) 347
   Comparison with the age of the Universe 348
   Variations in age 349
   Metallicities of globular clusters 350
   [Omega] Cen 351
   The third parameter problem 352
   Variations in helium abundance 353
   Variations in other element abundances 353
   Other candidates 354
   Luminosity functions 354
   Binary stars 359
   Stellar remnants 361
   White dwarfs 361
   Neutron stars 362
   Radial profiles 363
   Large-scale properties 365
   Luminosity segregation 367
   Central cusps 369
   Kinematics 371
   Velocities of individual stars 371
   Integrated-light kinematics 374
   Proper motions 375
6.2 Open clusters 377
   Color-magnitude diagrams 381
   The ages and demise of open clusters 384
   Structure and kinematics 386
   Luminosity function 389
Problems 392

7 The Cosmic Distance Scale
7.1 An introduction to cosmology 396
7.2 Absolute distance estimators 399
   The Baade-Wesselink method 399
   Application to supernovae 402
   The Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect 403
   Distances from time delays 405
   The ring around Supernova 1987A 406
   Gravitational lens time delays 407
   Water-maser proper-motions by VLBI 410
7.3 Relative distance estimators 414
   Luminosities of variable stars 415
   Luminosity functions 415
   Globular clusters 416
   Planetary nebulae 417
   Novae and supernovae 419
   Novae 419
   Type Ia supernovae 420
   Distances from galaxy kinematics 422
   Spiral galaxies 422
   Elliptical galaxies 425
   Surface brightness fluctuations 426
7.4 Results 429
    Distances within the Local Group 432
   Distance to the Galactic center 432
   Distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud 434
   Distance to M31 435
   Distances beyond the Local Group 437
   Distance to the Virgo Cluster 437
   Peculiar velocity field 439
   The asymptotic Hubble constant 441
   The deceleration parameter and cosmic density 444
   Standard candles and rulers 444
   Peculiar velocity field 447
Problems 449

8 The Interstellar Media of Galaxies
8.1 How interstellar matter is detected 452
   Absorption of starlight 452
   Extreme UV and Xray observations 459
   Optical emission lines 463
   Hydrogen lines 463
   Metal lines 464
   Radio observations 468
   The 21-cm line of atomic hydrogen 471
   Rotation transitions of heteronuclear molecules 474
   Synchrotron radiation 478
   Radio-frequency bremsstrahlung and recombination lines 480
   Dispersion and Rotation Measures 481
   Gamma-ray emission 482
   Radiation by dust 483
8.2 The ISM in Disk Galaxies 488
   Global measures 493
   HI and H2 in disk galaxies 493
   Radio-continuum and IR luminosities 496
   Radial density profiles 498
   Azimuthal distributions 500
    Bars and oval distortions 500
   Spiral structure 500
   Lop-sidedness 502
   Velocity fields of disks 505
   Circular-speed curves 507
   Kinematic warps 510
   Oval distortions 512
   S0 galaxies 513
   Metallicities of disk galaxies 516
   Magnetic fields 520
   Star formation in disk galaxies 522
8.3 The ISM in elliptical galaxies 525
   X-ray emitting plasma 525
   Cool gas in ellipticals 527
8.4 Intergalactic gas 530
   The Magellanic Stream 530
Problems 533

9 The Milky Way's ISM
9.1 The kinematics of differential rotation 536
   The naive (l,v) plot 536
   Radii and distances from the (l,v) plot 540
   Non-circular motion and the (l,v) plot 541
   Axisymmetric expansion 541
   Oval distortions 542
   Spiral structure 544
   Random motions 546
9.2 The large-scale distribution of HI and CO 549
   The 21-cm line in emission 549
   Measuring the spin temperature 553
   CO lines in emission 554
   The Milky Way's circular-speed curve 555
   Radial distributions of HI and CO 559
   Evidence for spiral structure 561
   Vertical distributions of HI and CO 562
   The middle disk 563
   The outer disk 565
9.3 Other tracers of the ISM 570
   Diffuse infrared emission 570
   Pulsars and the Galactic magnetic field 574
   Diffuse H[Alpha] radiation 576
   Diffuse synchrotron and Gamma-radiation 577
   Diffuse X-rays 579
9.4 The central disk 580
   21-cm observations 580
   Observations in lines of CO and CS 586
   A dynamical model of the central disk 588
9.5 The nucleus 594
9.6 Small-scale structure of the ISM 597
   Molecular gas in the Galaxy 598
   X from virial masses 601
   X from Gamma-rays 601
   X from Av 602
Problems 603

10 Components of the Milky Way
10.1 Gross Structure from Surface Photometry 609
   The Galaxy at optical wavelengths 614
10.2 The bulge 616
   Integrated surface photometry 616
   Evidence for a bar from individual stars 619
   Age and metallicity of the bulge 621
   Bulge kinematics 622
10.3 Kinematics of stars near the Sun 624
   The solar motion 624
   Random velocities of stars 629
   Vertex deviation 630
   The Schwarzschild distribution 632
   Star streams 634
   Causes of vertex deviation 636
   The Oort constants 637
   Estimating the Oort constants 641
10.4 The structure of the stellar disk 643
   Ages and metallicities of nearby stars 643
   Correlations between abundances 643
   Correlations between age and abundance 644
   The old disk clusters 651
   Star counts and the thick disk 651
   The thick disk 654
   The local mass density of the disk 656
   Distribution of the youngest stars 664
10.5 The halo 666
   The globular cluster system 666
   Field halo stars 670
   Kinematically selected samples 673
10.6 Galaxy models 678
   The local circular speed 679
   Mass models 680
   Starcount models 682
   Kinematic models 683
   Dynamical models 683
10.7 Formation and evolution of the Milky Way 684
   Formation scenarios 684
   Models of the chemical evolution of the Milky Way 688
   Chemical evolution of the halo 688
   Pre-enrichment 688
Problems 690

11 Stellar Kinematics in External Galaxies
11.1 Measuring the kinematics of external galaxies 694
   Mean velocities and velocity dispersions 697
   Analysis of line profiles 700
   Position-velocity diagrams and data cubes 705
11.2 The stellar kinematics of elliptical galaxies 707
   Large-scale properties 707
   Major-axis kinematics 707
   Detection of dark halos 712
   Kinematic mapping 713
   Core properties 716
   Decoupled cores 716
   Detection of central black holes 717
11.3 The stellar kinematics of disk galaxies 722
   Bulge kinematics 723
   Disk kinematics 724
   Rotational motion 725
   Random motions 727
Problems 730

A. Gravitational deflection of light 732
B. Important astronomical catalogs 736
C. Richardson-Lucy deconvolution 743
D. Useful numbers 744


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Galactic Astronomy 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are three specific areas in which this book fails. I will address them in turn: 1) The information is way out of date. Although the publishing date is recent, the authors have made very little attempt to present the major advances that have occurred in this science over the last few years. As a result of this problem, there is some critical information in the book that is simply inaccurate. The information reflects understandings that are five to ten years old - not what we know today. 2) The writing style is very difficult to follow. The authors seem to think they are writing for their fellow professional astronomers, not for students. They don't explain the concepts sufficiently and they end up leaving the reader confused and disappointed. 3) About half the pages are mostly mathematics. This is fine if you understand advanced math and you can follow the authors reasoning. The problem is that as I closely checked the math I found glaring errors in it. On just about every few pages there would be a math error. This makes it that much more difficult to understand the information. I would suggest you save your money - and frustration! Find a better book.