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York University
Faculty of Science
Department of Physics and Astronomy

PHYS 2070 3.0 W14/15
Galaxies and the Universe



==>  Lecture Notes  <==








Course Description:
The course will cover all aspects of modern astronomy with special focus on highlights of recent astronomical research.  In particular the course will cover and focus on: Introduction to the night sky and an overview of the universe. The solar system with planets and minor bodies, especially as they relate to the formation and evolution of planetary systems, and threats to the Earth. Extrasolar planets. Searches for water in the solar system, habitable zones around stars, search for extrasolar planets, search for extraterrestrial life. The evolution of the Sun and stars, including endpoints such as planetary nebulae,
supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, white dwarfs, pulsars, and black holes. Galaxies, galactic dynamics and the evidence for and the possible nature of dark matter in the universe. Active galaxies, including galaxy collisions and mergers, relativistic jets, supermassive black holes, and quasars. The organization of matter in the universe, including groups, clusters, and superclusters of galaxies, walls, voids, and the cosmic web. The cosmic distance ladder and Hubble’s Law. Observations and concepts of modern cosmology, such as the Big Bang, cosmic inflation, the geometry of space-time, dark energy, and the fate of the universe.

Evaluation Scheme:

Breakdown of Final Grade


Total (%)

In-class work (unannounced quizzes)

Observational project assignments

Observational project

Midterm test


Final Exam





Professor Norbert Bartel (Course Director)
Room 331 Petrie Science and Engineering Building

Tel: 416-736-5424
E-mail: bartel@yorku.ca

please put PHYS2070 in the subject line

Class Schedule:

Lectures: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:00 pm - 2:30  pm

Special Dates:



First class

6 January, 2015

Project assignment #1

22 January 2015, 13:00

 Project assignment #2
 22 January 2015, 13:00
 Project assignment #3
 22 January 2015, 13:00
 Class meets in computer lab
 22 January 2015, 13:00
 Project assignment #4
 29 January 2015. 13:00
 Project assignment #5
 29 January 2015, 13:00
 Project assignment #6
 29 January 2015, 13:00
 Project assignment #7  12 February 2015, 13:00

Midterm test

26 February, 2015, 11:30 am

 16 April 2015 13:00

Last class

16 April, 2015 13:00

Final Exam

20 April, 2015 14:00 - 17:00


<>Office Hours

Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm:
Room 331 Petrie Science  Building

Required Text:

Universe, 10th edition
  Roger A. Freedman, Robert, M. Geller, William J. Kaufmann III(W. H. Freeman and Company)

A copy is on 2-hour reserve in Steacy Library. Also, refer to the excellent W.H. Freeman websites http://www.whfreeman.com/universe10e/
or http://www.whfreeman.com/universe8e/ for helpful online resources.

  for PHYS 2070

Galaxies and the Universe


Testing Einstein's Universe - The Gravity Probe B Mission
  a film by Norbert Bartel

DVD available in York's bookstore or via e-commerce (see home page: www.yorku.ca/bartel

Alternate Texts: (Steacie Library)

Important Things to Note:

 Course content:


1. Stars and Stellar Evolution relevant to Studies of Galaxies
    1.1 Fundamental properties of stars

<>    1.2 The birth of stars
    1.3 Stellar evolution on and after the main sequence
    1.4 The deaths of stars

    1.5 Neutron stars, gamma-ray bursts and black holes  

2. The Milky Way
    2.1 Organization of matter
    2.2 Internal motions
    2.3 The Galactic Center


3. Galaxies

    3.1 Classifying  galaxies
    3.2 Distances to galaxies
    3.3 Clusters and superclusters
    3.4 Colliding galaxies

    3.5 Dark matter in the universe
    3.6 Evolution of galaxies

4. Quasars and active galaxies
    4.1 Supermassive black holes as central engines
    4.2 Accretion disks and jets
    4.3 A unified model of active galaxies
    4.4 The evolution of active galaxies

5. Cosmology
    5.1 The dark night sky

    5.2 The expanding universe and the Big Bang

<>    5.3 The cosmic microwave background
    5.4 The shape of the universe
    5.5 Dark energy and the accelerating universe
    5.6 The early universe

6. The search for extraterrestrial life

Academic Policy Issues:

If illness (or some similar disruption) prevents you from writing a test or from handing
in an assignment, you must notify the instructor on or before the due date. Only in truly
extraordinary circumstances is notification after the due date acceptable.
Students *must* be aware of University policies regarding: a) Academic Integrity
[http://www.yorku.ca/phall/acadintegrity.pdf & http://www.yorku.ca/tutorial/academic integrity/]
and b) Religious Observances [http://calendars.registrar.yorku.ca/examschedules/policy.htm].
Please read the policies in full. As a summary, the rules are as follows:
a) Students are encouraged to work together, but must not plagiarize. So it's OK to work
together to find a solution to a homework problem, as long as you write up the answer independently.
You must write assignments in your own words; identical answers will result in
zeros for all parties involved. Whenever an idea, passage, or data are taken from another
person, this must be acknowledged by using quotation marks where appropriate and by
proper referencing such as footnotes or citations. Plagiarism is a serious academic offence.
Students must also not cheat or impersonate another individual during quizzes or exams.
b) While religious observations are respected, it may well be that a conflict occurs in the
scheduling of assignments or exams. Should a conflict occur, the student should contact
the course instructor before, and not on or after, the due date. By default, assignments
must be handed in before and not after the due date in such cases.