This course serves as an introduction to topics in extragalactic astronomy (astronomy outside of the Milky Way) and cosmology (the study of the universe as a whole). Galaxies are the fundamental building blocks of the universe; i.e., they are the basic bricks out of which the structure of the universe is assembled. Therefore, it is natural to combine studies of the present-day properties of galaxies, as well as theories of their formation and evolution, with studies of cosmology in order to gain an understanding of how the universe came to be as we currently observe it. Particular emphasis will be placed on the use of modern extragalactic observations to constrain theories of the origin and nature of the universe. In addition to topics which are well-understood, we will also discuss a number of the current unanswered questions in modern cosmology and how the answers to these questions may ultimately shape our theories of the origin and evolution of the universe.
2012 Course Syllabus