ASTR 5460, Fall 2011, Brotherton Instructor

Introduction to Cosmology

This is a graduate level class designed to provide the fundamentals of cosmology aimed at observational extragalactic astronomers. Other courses in our program will provide galaxy topics in detail.

Here is the syllabus.

Papers of Interest:

Hubble (1929). Clowe et al. (2006). Riess et al. (1998). Hogg (1999). Freedman et al. (2001). Zwicky 1937. Komatsu et al. 2011 (7 year WMAP results). Smoot et al. 1992 (First CMBR fluctuations). Penzias and Wilson 1965. Dicke et al. 1965.

Line Fitting Papers:

Hogg et al. (2010). Akritas and Bershady (1996).. Isobe et al. (1990).. Regression Lines: More Than Meets the Eye."


Homework 1. Please read the website courtesy of John Huchra giving some history regarding the Hubble Constant: Your assignment, in addition to this reading, is to plot your own Hubble diagram and measure a Hubble constant. I don't care how you do this as long as you make a good effort and your write-up to accompany your plot explains what you did, how, and why. The goal is not to get the right answer, but to develop some independent research skills looking up astronomical values and exercising your own judgment. It will also let me gauge your current skill set and style. Put a reasonable effort into this, but don't shoot for perfection. I suggest that NASA ADS, NED, LaTeX, and SuperMongo may be useful. I'll provide suggestions, but I won't tell you how to do this. Good luck!

For Homework 2: Please use this data file to create a Hubble plot. Fit a line to the data to determine a Hubble constant. Take into account the errors on the individual points and make sure your line goes through zero. There are no uncertainties on the y-axis. Assume all the errors are the same: 10 km/s. Also, you may find this link concerning the failures of the tired light hypothesis of interest. Not all the shortcomings may make sense yet, but they will soon.

Links/items you might find of use (will be regularly updated):

Also helpful for the homework, and life/research in general, are a number of statistics packages. Freely available code from the Penn State Astrostatics group is available from their webpage.. Gaussfit, from the Texas astronomy statistics people, is available from their webpage.. Also, here at UW on the campus PCs you can use minitab. If you're interested writing your own codes, the Penn State papers/webpage is probably the place to get the equations with derivations, and is the best source for analyzing censored data. Gaussfit is the most powerful, general fitting program. Minitab is probably the simplest for quick look analysis.

Ned Wright's webpage which includes tutorials at a range of levels as well as his very useful javascript cosmology calculator.

Wayne Hu's webpage which includes great tutorials at a range of levels, and many of them!

Mark Whittle's webpage which features BIG BANG Acoustics, including movies and the sounds of the universe, the acoustic waves, shifted to audible frequencies. Also note the work involvinge AGN jet-cloud interactions.

An on-line source about LaTeX.

AASTeX website is your one-stop shopping for LaTeX templates (samples and downloads) and additional documentation.

A plotting package I particularly like is called Super Mongo. It is called from linux with "sm". The linked page has sm manuals, examples, and more.

An on-line resource you'll find useful is NED, which stands for NASA Extragalactic Database. It's good for finding out about individual objects as well as a source of review papers.

I use IRAF to do my data reduction and analysis. IRAF is documented in a number of places (as it different parts are written in a number of places). The usually most useful site, is from NOAO, and it has tutorials for basic CCD image/spectroscopy reductions.

NASA's Astrophysical Data System, or ADS, is very useful, primarily as a way to look up papers online. Suggested exercise: look up the papers by the astronomers in the department.

Astronomy Picture of the Day is a great webpage to visit every day.

So is the astro-ph preprint server.