Interstellar Matter, Galaxy, Universe


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The Interstellar Medium

Finally we will look at the early phases, and the main epochs, in the development of the universe from the Big Bang to the present as well as links with particle physics. Describe in detail the structure and underlying physics of our galaxy with particular reference to: The interstellar medium including heating and cooling, interactions between gas and dust, gas dynamics and shocks Dark matter and its role in galactic dynamics and evolution Stellar evolution on a galactic scale including gravitational collapse, star formation, supernovae remnants and chemical enrichment Discuss the formation and evolution of galaxies of various types and their extreme properties, including active galactic nuclei.


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Assess the observational tools of galactic and extragalactic astronomy across the electromagnetic spectrum and what the information reveals about the astronomical source and the intervening medium. Explain the observed large-scale structure of the Universe with reference to cosmological models. Feedback solutions will be provided on the VLE or by other equivalent means from your lecturer. As feedback solutions are provided, normally detailed comments will not be written on your returned work, although markers will indicate where you have lost marks or made mistakes.

How Large is the Universe?

You should use your returned scripts in conjunction with the feedback solutions. Exams - You will receive the marks for the individual exams from eVision. Detailed model answers will be provided on the intranet.

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You should discuss your performance with your supervisor. Advice on academic progress - Individual meetings with supervisor will take place where you can discuss your academic progress in detail. Though the space between the stars is emptier than the best vacuums created on the Earth those are enclosed spaces devoid of matter, not the household cleaning appliances , there is some material between the stars composed of gas and dust. This material is called the interstellar medium. Without the dust, we would be able to see through the entire , light year disk of the Galaxy.

Observations of other galaxies are done by looking up or down out of the plane of the Galaxy.

Division H Interstellar Matter and Local Universe

Dust provides a place for molecules to form. Finally, probably the most of important of all is that stars and planets form from dust-filled clouds. Therefore, let us look at the dust first and then go on to the gas. The structure of the Galaxy is mapped from measurements of the gas. Dust The dust is made of thin, highly flattened flakes or needles of graphite carbon and silicates rock-like minerals coated with water ice.

Each dust flake is roughly the size of the wavelength of blue light or smaller. The dust is probably formed in the cool outer layers of red giant stars and dispersed in the red giant winds and planetary nebulae.


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Extinction Starlight passing through a dust cloud can be affected in a couple of ways. The light can be totally blocked if the dust is thick enough or it can be partially scattered by an amount that depends on the color of the light and the thickness of the dust cloud. All wavelengths of light passing through a dust cloud will be dimmed somewhat.

Interstellar Matter

This effect is called extinction. Dark dusk clouds like these "Bok globules" in IC were once thought to be holes in the sky.

NASA Spacecraft Reveals New Observations of Interstellar Matter | NASA

The dark clouds block the light from the emission nebula behind. A dark cloud, Barnard 86, is silhouetted against a starry background. Stars form in the dark clouds. A young cluster, NGC , probably associated with Barnard 86 is seen just to the left of it.

Interstellar Medium

The discovery of the dust is relatively recent. In R. Trumpler lived plotted the angular diameter of star clusters vs. He derived the distances from the inverse square law of brightness : clusters farther away should appear dimmer. But he found a systematic increase of the linear size of the clusters with distance.


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Interstellar Matter, Galaxy, Universe Interstellar Matter, Galaxy, Universe
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