In the move to our new system and website, we are encountering some technical issues.
We are working hard to fix these and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Subject details

  • Topics
    • The Milky Way: structure, rotation curves and dark matter, spiral arms & density wave theory, galactic centre, modelling the origin of the Milky Way
    • The structure and classification of normal galaxies: spiral, elliptical & irregular galaxies, Hubble's classification
    • Estimating galactic distances: standard candles, sizes and masses, redshifts & Hubble's Law
    • Galactic structures: the Local Group, dwarf galaxies, dark matter in clusters, superclusters & voids
    • Star formation: measuring rates and evolution, techniques and relationships
    • Quasars and active galaxies: host galaxies, radio and Seyfert galaxies, unified active galactic nuclei model, black holes, gravitational lensing
    • Interacting galaxies, galactic cannibalism & mergers, starburst galaxies, modelling galaxy interactions
    • Galaxy formation and evolution, fluctuations and galaxy seeds, Jeans mass, N-body simulations, Cold Dark Matter
    • The first stars & galaxies: the dark ages, Population III stars, galaxies & quasars at high redshift, the evolution of clusters, faint blue galaxies
    • Quasar absorbers, evolution of gas in the Universe, the intergalactic medium
  • Study resources
    • Instructional Methods
      • Disscusion forum/Discussion Board
      • Embedded Multimedia
      • Online Quizzes/Tests
      • Online assignment submission
      • Standard Media
      • Web links

At the completion of this subject students will be able to:

  1. Appreciate the 'big questions' in galactic and extragalactic astronomy, and the current state of our knowledge on these questions
  2. Understand the concepts of galaxy formation and evolution
  3. Understand the way galaxies are classified and the approaches used to discover their properties
  4. Communicate basic principles and concepts about our and other galaxies, their properties and their constituents in a non-technical way understandable to the wider public
  5. Research an astronomy topic in depth, using dependable sources of astronomical information on the internet and refereed journal articles.
  • Assignment 1 - Essay (50%)
  • Assignment 2 - Newsgroups (30%)
  • Assignment 3 - Test (20%)

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a subject

Entry Requirements

Equivalent Subjects

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following subject(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • SWI-HET624

Special requirements

No special requirements

This subject aims to provide an introduction to galaxies and galaxy clustering, theories of dark matter, galaxy formation and evolution.

Related degrees