A381c Homepage
Gravitational Dynamics

Astro 381c (Unique 49090)
Spring 2010: Tu Th 9.30 to 11.00, RLM 15.216B

Course Overview
Instructor: Prof. Shardha Jogee (RLM 16.224, sj@astro.as.utexas.edu; 512-471-1395). Office hours: Thursdays from 1pm to 2pm, or by appointment

Course Description: This course focuses on a clasical treatment of stellar dynamics and its application primarily to galaxies and stellar clusters (e.g., open clusters and globular clusters), with some brief discussion of other astrophysical systems. However, the general principles discussed in class can be applied and adapted to a broad array of astrophysical situations by able graduate students working in different areas (e.g., galaxies, stars, planets, black holes, etc). Since the formal treatment of stellar dynamics in the course textbook can appear quite dry, I will complement it in several ways:

The course outline lists the topics to be covered in class and will be regularly updated as the semester proceeds.

Pre-Requisites: This course is targetted at graduate students in astronomy and astrophysics. I will assume the following: (1) Standard undergraduate level physics preparation; (2) Mathematical physics background, especially vector calculus, at level of Arfken (1970) or Matthews and Walker (1970). This is reviewed in Appendix 1.B of the main textbook ("Galactic Dynamics") as well; (3) Basic astronomy background, reviewed in Chapter 1, section 1.1 of "Galactic Dynamics".

Textbook and Reading: The main course textbook is "Galactic Dynamics" (GD) by J. Binney & S. Tremaine. If you are buying a new copy, get the second edition (2008; Princeton Unviersity Press), but if you already have the first edtion (1987; Princeton Unviersity Press), it will do fine for the most part. However, note that in the two editions, the order of Chapters 7 and 8 is swapped, Chapter 9 is different, and Chapter 10 on dark matter is removed from the second edition. Here is a list of errata for the second edition.
There will be extra reading material posted on the class website as the semester proceeds. Complementary textbooks for additional optional reading include: (1)"Galactic Astronomy" (GA) by J. Binney and M. Merrifield (2) Landau and Lifshitz (1959) on hydrodynamics; (3) Statistical Mechanics by Huang (1987).

Course Grade
The final grade will be divided as follows :
- 65% = Homeworks
- 20% = Exam
- 15% = Quiz
There will be about 5 homeworks, 1 end-of-semester exam, and 1 mid-semester quiz. There will also be small in-class assignments that can count toward extra credit and help you if your grade is borderline between two letter grades.
When converting your final numerical grades to letter grades, I will use the scheme below or one that is slightly more lenient: A= 85% to 100%; B= 70% to 84%; C= 60% to 69%; D= 50% to 59%; F= 0% to 49%.

Class Policies: There will be makeup exams only for students having a valid excuse and an official note from UT for the specific date and time of the missed exam. You are encouraged to study with other students, but you must write up your own homework, exams, and quizzes. Cheating will be severely punished: if you copy someone's homework/quiz/exam or let someone copy yours, both of you will receive zero credit, and we will consider filing a report to the Dean of Students.

Selected Course Material and Announcements

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