Galaxies in the Universe: An Introduction

Galaxies in the Universe: An Introduction


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This textbook provides a comprehensive and lucid modern introduction to galaxies for advanced undergraduate students in astronomy and physics. Basic astrophysics, multiwavelength observations and theoretical concepts are carefully combined to develop a thorough and integrated understanding. All the necessary background astronomy is included and mathematics has been kept to the minimum required to enable the student to grasp the essence of a calculation, or the basis for a method. Techniques for observation and measurement are clearly explained, with a critical review of their limits and accuracy. Exciting topics such as gravitational lensing, dark matter and galactic collisions and mergers are also covered. The clear and friendly style of the text, thorough coverage of fundamentals, extensive use of up-to-date observations, and helpful problems make this an ideal introduction to galaxies and an excellent preparation for more advanced texts and the research literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521855938
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 02/28/2007
Edition description: REV
Pages: 442
Product dimensions: 6.97(w) x 9.96(h) x 1.06(d)

About the Author

Linda Sparke is a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

John Gallagher is the W. W. Morgan Professor of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin and is Editor of the Astronomical Journal.

Table of Contents

Preface to the second edition     vii
Introduction     1
The stars     2
Our Milky Way     26
Other galaxies     37
Galaxies in the expanding Universe     46
The pregalactic era: a brief history of matter     50
Mapping our Milky Way     58
The solar neighborhood     59
The stars in the Galaxy     67
Galactic rotation     89
Milky Way meteorology: the interstellar gas     95
The orbits of the stars     110
Motion under gravity: weighing the Galaxy     111
Why the Galaxy isn't bumpy: two-body relaxation     124
Orbits of disk stars: epicycles     133
The collisionless Boltzmann equation     140
Our backyard: the Local Group     151
Satellites of the Milky Way     156
Spirals of the Local Group     169
How did the Local Group galaxies form?     172
Dwarf galaxies in the Local Group     183
The past and future of the Local Group     188
Spiral and S0 galaxies     191
The distribution of starlight     192
Observing the gas     206
Gas motions and the masses of diskgalaxies     214
Interlude: the sequence of disk galaxies     222
Spiral arms and galactic bars     225
Bulges and centers of disk galaxies     236
Elliptical galaxies     241
Photometry     242
Motions of the stars     254
Stellar populations and gas     266
Dark matter and black holes     273
Galaxy groups and clusters     273
Groups: the homes of disk galaxies     279
Rich clusters: the domain of S0 and elliptical galaxies     292
Galaxy formation: nature, nurture, or merger?     300
Intergalactic dark matter: gravitational lensing     303
The large-scale distribution of galaxies     314
Large-scale structure today     316
Expansion of a homogeneous Universe     325
Observing the earliest galaxies     335
Growth of structure: from small beginnings     344
Growth of structure: clusters, walls, and voids     355
Active galactic nuclei and the early history of galaxies     365
Active galactic nuclei     366
Fast jets in active nuclei, microquasars, and [Gamma]-ray bursts     383
Intergalactic gas     390
The first galaxies      397
Units and conversions     407
Bibliography     411
Hints for problems     414
Index     421

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"The book fills in a critical need in the undergraduate astronomy curriculum. It is a perfect fit to advanced astronomy/physics majors. It also catches the most important and most fascinating current topics and recent discoveries and introduces them in the broad framework of modern extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. Most importantly, the book does an excellent job in showing students how to solve contemporary research problems with the physics they have already learned and how basic physics principles can go a long way in understanding some of the most complex phenomena in the Universe. The Second Edition includes some of the most exciting recent discoveries in astronomy and makes it an extremely timely textbook."
Xiaohui Fan, Steward Observatory, The University of Arizona

"Sparke and Gallagher have produced a remarkably comprehensive and easy-to-read account of extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. Aimed at third and fourth year undergraduates, but invaluable for researchers at all levels, frontier topics in this exciting and popular area of astronomy are discussed with admirable clarity, with the physical principles carefully explained and well-illustrated."
Richard Ellis, Steele Professor of Astronomy, California Institute of Technology

"Sparke and Gallagher have successfully distilled a large, complex, and rapidly growing subject into a highly readable and self-contained textbook. It skillfully introduces the fundamentals of extragalactic astronomy and stellar dynamics, while engaging the interest of readers with their up-to-date account of the observational and theoretical work in the subject. It will serve as a superb advanced textbook for an undergraduate course in astronomy and astrophysics, as well as a valuable reference source for graduate students and researchers, in astronomy and physics. I will keep it close at hand on my own bookshelf."
Robert Kennicutt, Plumian Professor of Astronomy, University of Cambridge

Galaxies in the Universe is more than its title suggests. It has all the ingredients needed for a comprehensive senior-level course on galaxies, including the necessary background technology, stellar astrophysics and dynamical and cosmological theory. The book is full of interesting problems aimed at broadening the reader’s understanding. Galaxies in the Universe is an excellent text: I use it for my senior class and can strongly recommend it.
Ken Freeman, Duffield Professor, The Australian National University

"The scope of the book is impressive indeed. It is sure to find its way onto the desks of astronomers and astrophysicists around the world who are looking for key resources to teach senior physics undergraduates and even first-year graduate students. In the intervening years between the first edition of the text and this new one, research on galaxies everywhere and at all redshifts has proliferated enormously. It accurately conveys the present sense of excitement and anticipation at still more advances just around the corner … The writing style is energetic, yet also remarkably compact: single sentences on page after page convey whole trains of embedded logic as if the authors cannot wait to get on to the next point. All in all, this book is a welcome and major accomplishment."
William E. Harris, Professor of Astrophysics, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada

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