Astr/Phys 328/428 Final Exam Study Questions (2006 edition)

The final exam is Wednesday, December 20th, 12:30-3:30.

It will consist of five questions taken from this list. You should plan on spending ~ 2-3 blue book pages answering each one. Remember to always answer with a "what" (i.e., describe the object/effect/concept in question) and a "why" (i.e. explain physically why it behaves the way it does).


  1. Describe the Tully-Fisher relationship (including its physical implications). Discuss the data you need to measure H0 with Tully-Fisher, and explain how the cluster incompleteness bias can influence your answer.
  2. Describe and sketch the Press-Schecter relationship for collapsed dark matter halos. Why does it have the shape it does? How and why does Press-Schecter evolve with redshift?
  3. Explain what the Sunyayev-Zeldovich effect is and how it used to measure the Hubble constant.
  4. Describe Big Bang Nucleosynthesis (BBN). Observationally, how can we constrain OmegaB from BBN arguments?
  5. Explain the test behind the supernova cosmology project, and the recent results from this project. One systematic effect that people have had is what would happen if the universe was filled with dust. How would a "dusty universe" affect the test, and how might you check for this effect?
  6. Describe the physics behind the microwave background, and explain how the CMB constrains models for structure formation in the universe.
  7. Why is "standard CDM" cosmology (i.e., OmegaM=1, OmegaL=0) dead? Give me several well described arguments.
  8. How and why does structure form differently under hot dark matter and cold dark matter models? 
  9. Observations suggest that OmegaM ~ 0.3. Why couldn't the dark matter be all baryonic? Give several reasons why.
  10. Explain the Lyman break technique and how we use it to identify high redshift galaxies. Describe the properties of Lyman Break Galaxies.
  11. Explain how we can use the properties of elliptical galaxies to constrain their age of formation. What constraints do we get on their formation redshift from these arguments?
  12. Describe qualitatively how structure grows with time in the following sets of universes:
  13. Make sure you explain why structure evolves differently in these different universes. Based on these arguments (only), and the observed structure in the universe what value or ranges of values are acceptable for OmegaL and OmegaM?
  14. Describe how we can use peculiar velocities to measure the matter content of the Universe? How do we derive those peculiar velocities? In this context, what is the Great Attractor?
  15. Describe the five foundations of modern cosmology.
  16. Why do we currently believe that the cosmological constant (or "dark energy" in general) is real? Give several lines of evidence.
  17. Describe how globular clusters are age dated, and how these ages can be used to constrain cosmological parameters (ie OmegaM, OmegaL, H0). Be specific!
  18. Describe several reasons why high redshift galaxies might look different from galaxies in the nearby universe (think both about observational effects and the galaxies themselves...).
  19. Describe what Damped Lyman Alpha systems are and how they can help us constrain the star forming history of the Universe.
  20. Describe several lines of evidence suggesting that "normal" galaxies (spirals and ellipticals) were largely formed and in place by z=1.
  21. Write down the Friedmann equation and describe each term. Using the Friedmann equation, derive the following for an OmegaM=1, OmegaL=0 universe: