nl en

Galaxies and Cosmology


Admission requirements

The student should be familiar with the Analysis and Linear algebra courses of the first year, and Classical Mechanics a and Introduction Astrophysics.


This course will address galaxies and cosmology. Galaxies are the building blocks of the universe. They contain stars, gas, black holes, and dark matter, a component of the universe which has not been identified yet. A good understanding of galaxies is critical for a good understanding of the universe as a whole, and its content.
Cosmology studies the evolution of the universe as a whole. It can help us to understand how a very smooth universe in the very early time produced the wealth of structure we see now.

Course objectives

The lecture series gives an introduction into galaxies and cosmology. It starts with a discussion of observations of galaxies in different wavelengths, and the different components of galaxies.
It presents observations in the optical light in more detail, including classifications, and luminosity functions, and galaxy photometry.
Next, the course concentrates on the understanding on the equilibria of galaxies: potentials and densities, timescales, and the virial theorem. Orbits are constructed, and integrals of motions discussed, and it is shown how models can be built. It is shown how the Collisionless Boltzman equation can be used to build analytical models.
The Jeans equations are presented and used to constrain the mass distributions.
Evidence of dark matter is presented, based on a range of observations. Basic cosmological equations are introduced, and it is shown how galaxies can form from small perturbations. The collapse of gas, and the dynamics of mergers are discussed.


See BSc schedules.

Mode of instruction

Lectures and seminars.

Assessment method

Written exam, oral second exam. See: Exam schedule.


Blackboard will not be used during the course. See for more information the course website

Reading list

No books are required. The following books can be useful for the course (but their level is generally higher than the course):

  • Galactic Dynamics (2008, second edition) Binney and Tremaine.

  • Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology (2014) Peter Schneider.


Via uSis.
More information about signing up for your classes at the Faculty of Science can be found here
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.