Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 1 hour / session


The subject covers the physics of galaxies, active galactic nuclei, clusters of galaxies, and the Universe. Topics include X-ray and Sunyaev-Zeldovich observations of clusters of galaxies, the cosmic microwave background radiation and big bang nucleosynthesis.


  1. Galaxies: dynamics, potential theory, equilibria
  2. Groups and clusters of galaxies; X-ray emission and dark matter
  3. Active galactic nuclei; black hole accretion and jets
  4. Phenomenological cosmology
  5. Newtonian and Friedman-Robertson-Walker models
  6. Cosmic microwave background
  7. Primordial nucleosynthesis
  8. Formation of galaxies and large scale structure

Required Texts

Buy at Amazon Binney, James, and Scott Tremaine. Galactic Dynamics. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1 January 1988. ISBN: 9780691084459.

Buy at Amazon Longair, Malcolm S. Galaxy Formation. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1 December 1998. ISBN: 9783540637851.


8.901 (Astrophysics I)


The basis for the course grade is listed below.

Assignments 40%
Midterm 20%
Final Exam 40%