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Lund University

ASTM13
Dynamical astronomy (7.5 hp)

This course, called Dynamical astronomy, deals with the determination of the kinematical and dynamical properties of stellar systems, in particular the Milky Way galaxy, based primarily on astrometric observations. This sentence already contained several terms which may require some explanation (paraphrased from Wikipedia):

Kinematics is the branch of classical mechanics that describes the motion of bodies and systems of bodies without consideration of the forces that cause the motion. In stellar astronomy, it may refer to the purely geometrical description of the spatial distribution and motions of stars.

By contrast, dynamics is the study of the causes of motion and changes in motion, in other words the study of forces and why objects are in motion. The forces that we will consider are exclusively due to gravitation.

Astrometry is the branch of observational astronomy that uses very precise angular measurements to determine the positions, motions and distances of stars and other celestial bodies.

Roughly speaking, then, astrometry provides the observational data, kinematics are the immediately derived properties of the stars, and dynamics our interpretation of these properties in terms of, for example, the distribution of mass in our Galaxy. In a wider context, these investigations give important clues to some very fundamental problems in astronomy, such as how a galaxy is formed.

Course period: Second half of the autumn term 2017.

Introductory meeting: Monday 30 October 2017, 13:15-15:00 in Cassiopeia.

Projects:
Students will work individually on projects P1, P2 and either P3 or P4 (see Documents and resources). The project reports are part of the examination.

Teachers:
DH = David Hobbs
AM = Alexander Mustill
BT = Brian Thorsbro

Lectures and labs: Lectures are held in Cassiopeia. Matlab/Python sessions are held in Cassiopeia for the first hour, and then they move to Lyra (PC room).

Session TypeLocationTime
Lectures Andromeda/Cassiopeia (classroom) 13:15-15:00
Matlab/Python tutorials Cassiopeia (classroom)
Lyra (PC room)
10:15-11:00
11:15-13:00
LabsLyra (PC room) 14:00-17:00
Week 44
Mon - Cassiopeia 30 Oct 2017, 10:15 - 13:00 Matlab/Python BT
Mon - Andromeda 30 Oct 2017, 13:15 - 15:00 Lecture 1 DH
Fri - Lyra 3 Nov 2017, 14:00 - 17:00 Lecture 2 / Lab in Lyra DH
Week 45
Mon - Cassiopeia 6 Nov 2015, 10:15 - 13:00 Matlab/Python BT
Mon - Andromeda 6 Nov 2017, 13:15 - 15:00 Lecture 3 AM
Fri - Lyra 10 Nov 2017, 14:00 - 17:00 Lab DH, AM
Week 46
Mon - Andromeda 13 Nov 2017, 13:15 - 15:00 Lecture 4 AM
Fri - Lyra 17 Nov 2017, 14:00 - 17:00 Lab DH, AM- P1 due - 5pm Saturday
Week 47
Mon - Cassiopeia 20 Nov 2017, 10:15 - 13:00 Matlab/Python BT
Mon - Andromeda 20 Nov 2017, 13:15 - 15:00 Lecture 5 DH
Fri - Lyra 24 Nov 2017, 14:00 - 17:00 Lab DH
Week 48
Mon - Cassiopeia 27 Nov 2017, 13:15 - 15:00 Lecture 6 DH
Fri - Lyra 1 Dec 2017, 14:00 - 17:00 Lab DH- P2 due - 5pm Saturday
Week 49
Mon - Cassiopeia 4 Dec 2017, 13:15 - 15:00 Lecture 7 AM
Fri - Lyra 8 Dec 2017, 14:00 - 17:00 Lab AM
Week 50
Mon - Cassiopeia 11 Dec 2017, 13:15 - 15:00 Lecture 8 AM
Wed 13 Dec 2017 Exam questions posted
Week 51
Wed 20 Dec 2017 Exam due  -   at 5pm. P3 or P4 is due January 5th at 5pm

Examination: NOT AVAILABLE
The final exam is not available. The answers must be handed in by 17:00 on Wednesday 20 December 2017.

Literature:
There is no textbook for this course. We use the compendium "Dynamical astronomy: Lecture Notes for ASTM13" (60 pages, Lund Observatory, 2010) which will be on sale at Media-Tryck (Sölvegatan 14, house I) price is 80 SEK.

Documents and resources for the course

Results of course evaluations:
Autumn 2010
Autumn 2011
Autumn 2012
Autumn 2013
Autumn 2014
Autumn 2015