First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP9086346, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC2490, Degree course structure A.Y. 2019/20, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination OBSERVATIONAL COSMOLOGY
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Physics and Astronomy
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit


ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses FIS/05 Astronomy and Astrophysics 6.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 48 102.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/03/2020
End of activities 12/06/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2019 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
1 Commissione Observational Cosmology 01/10/2019 30/11/2020 FRANCESCHINI ALBERTO (Presidente)
RODIGHIERO GIULIA (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: The course is self-consistent, having acquired the whole fundamental notions of mathematics and physics of the 3-year degrees in Astronomy or Physics.
Target skills and knowledge: The course describes the general structure and evolutionary history of the universe and its components, dark matter and energy, baryonic matter, radiative components. The main evolutionary phases and structures (large scale structure of dark matter, evolutionary history of baryons) are discussed.
The main observables and observational procedures needed to achieve the results are particularly discussed.
Examination methods: Oral discussion
Assessment criteria: We require some understanding of the fundamental physical concepts concerning the themes of the course. Mathematical derivations are optional (though sometimes useful to reconstruct a process).
The student should synthetically demonstrate an understanding of the main observational approaches to achieve a result.
Course unit contents: 1) The homogeneous and isotropic (Friedmann) Universe: Hubble law. The Cosmological Principle. Isotropic curved spaces. The Robertson-Walker metric. Cosmic dynamics, the Newtonian and general-relativistic approach. Cosmological models and parameters. Fundamental observables. The redshift. Luminosity and angular diameter distances. Time-redshift relations. Hubble diagrams. Generalized dynamical equations. The cosmological constant.
2) The large scale structure of the Universe: Local properties. Angular and spatial correlation functions. Higher order correlations. Limber relation. Power-spectrum of the cosmic structures. Relationship of the power-spectrum and ΞΎ(r). Observational data on the large scale structure. The initial power-spectrum of the perturbations. 3D mapping of galaxies, clusters, AGNs. Counts-in-cells. Outline of fractal and topological analyses of the large-scale structure of the universe.
2) Deviations from homogeneity: Gravitational lensing. Point-like lenses and isothermal spherical distributions. Lens potentials. Einstein radius. Lensing cross sections. Lensing effects on time lags. Caustics. Observations of the gravitational lensing and cosmological applications. Estimate of the total galaxy cluster mass. Estimates of H0. Effects of a cosmological constant L in the lensing statistics. Micro lensing and weak-lensing. Mapping of the mass distribution.
3) Cosmological evolution of perturbations in the cosmic fluid: Cosmological evolution of perturbations in the thermo-dynamical parameters of the various components of the cosmic fluid. General equations in a static universe and in an expanding one. Evolution in a matter dominated universe. Hubble drag. Relationship of perturbations and velocity fields.
4) Perturbations in an expanding universe: Peculiar motions of galaxies and structures. Deviations from the Hubble flow, peculiar velocity fields in the cosmos. Observations of peculiar velocity fields. The cosmic viral theorem. Origin of the large scale motions.
5) Brief thermal history of the Universe: The matter and radiation content of the Universe. Energy densities and their evolution. Radiation-dominated universes. The epochs of recombination and equivalence. Primordial nucleo-synthesis and its consequencies.
6) The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB): Discovery, observations from ground and from space. Origin of the CMB. Statistical description of the angular structure. Origin of the CMB angular fluctuations. Physical processes in operation on the large scales. Fluctuations on intermediate angular scales. Contributions of sources to the anisotropies on small scales. Cosmological re-ionization and its impact on CMB. Constraints of CMB observations on the cosmological parameters. The CMB spectrum, spectral distorsions. The Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect. Polarization.
7) The primordial Universe: Big Bang singularity. Planck time. Propagation of the information in the universe. Cosmological phase transitions. Open questions about the standard Big Bang model. The horizon problem. The flatness problem. Cosmological inflation and solutions to the problems. The Anthropic Principle.
8) Origin and evolution of the cosmological structure: Generation of the perturbation field. General composition of the cosmic fluid: the dark matter, cold and hot dark matter. Stagnation of the dark matter perturbation before the equivalence. Transfer function. Non-linear evolution. The Press-Schechter theory.
9) Post-recombination universe. Intergalactic diffuse gas. Absorption-lines in quasar spectra, Lyman-alpha clouds. The missing baryon problem. Evolutionary history of star formation and black hole accretion in quasars. Origin of the galaxy mass function.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Lectures and exercises given in Italian.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Lecture notes by the teacher and textbooks. Lecture notes will be provided at the beginning of the course.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Longair, Malcolm S., Galaxy Formation. Berlin: Springer, 2008. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Schneider, Peter, Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology. Heidelberg: Springer, 2015. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Peacock, John A., Cosmological Physics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Cerca nel catalogo