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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Topics in Astrophysics
Module Code MS445
School School of Mathematical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Abraham Harte
Semester 2: Abraham Harte
Autumn: Abraham Harte
Module TeachersAbraham Harte
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination

To introduce students to galactic and extra-galactic astronomy. In particular to the classification, evolution and dynamics of galaxies with an emphasis on developing a theoretical understanding of the physics involved.

Learning Outcomes

1. describe the properties of the various classes of galaxies, including the observations of the interstellar medium in the different classes
2. describe the physical properties of the states of the Interstellar Medium and/or explain theories for their existence
3. examine gravitational instabilities in self-gravitating fluids using linear stability analysis.
4. describe the properties of the various types of shocks in the interstellar medium.
5. derive mathematical descriptions of the motions of large numbers of stars in a galaxy
6. draw together information from different sources in the scientific literature to present a clear picture of a given topic in galactic astrophysics.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Assignment Completion5Essay
Independent Study5No Description
Total Workload: 14

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Basics of galactic observations
Galactic astronomical measurements: positions, motions and coordinate systems. Distances, determined from velocities. Magnitudes and colours.

Galaxy classification
Disk galaxies. Elliptical galaxies. Abnormal galaxies.

Interstellar Medium
Various possible states of interstellar medium in a galaxy. Shocks in the ISM.

Gravitational instabilities
The Jeans stability criterion. Stability of a rotating, self-gravitating disk of gas and the Toomre parameter.

Observations of the Interstellar Medium
Observations of the ISM in disk and elliptical galaxies

Stellar Kinematics
Stellar kinematics in external galaxies. The collisionless Boltzmann equation.

The Milky Way
Formation and evolution of our own galaxy

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment20% Examination Weight80%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentAssignment 110%n/a
AssignmentAssignment 210%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • James Binney and Scott Tremaine: 1994, Galactic Dynamics, Princeton University Press, 0691084459
  • James Binney and Michael Merrifield: 1998, Galactic Astronomy, Princeton University Press, 0591025657
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
AFUAge Friendly University Programme
BSSAStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
BSSAOStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
IESAStudy Abroad (Institute of Education)
IESAOStudy Abroad (Institute of Education)
PHABSc in Physics with Astronomy
SHSAStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
SHSAOStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
Date of Last Revision12-SEP-07

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