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Understanding Galaxy Formation and Evolution

Author: V. Avila-Reese
Url: http://babbage.sissa.it/abs/astro-ph/0605212
Format: Ps, Pdf
Category: Astrophysics of Galaxies
Pages: 50
Clicks: 2514

The old dream of integrating into one the study of micro and macrocosmos is now a reality. Cosmology, astrophysics, and particle physics intersect in a scenario (but still not a theory) of cosmic structure formation and evolution called Lambda Cold Dark Matter (LCDM) model. This scenario emerged mainly to explain the origin of galaxies. In these lecture notes, I first present a review of the main galaxy properties, highlighting the questions that any theory of galaxy formation should explain. Then, the cosmological framework and the main aspects of primordial perturbation generation and evolution are pedagogically detached. Next, I focus on the ``dark side'' of galaxy formation, presenting a review on LCDM halo assembling and properties, and on the main candidates for non-baryonic dark matter. It is shown how the nature of elemental particles can influence on the features of galaxies and their systems. Finally, the complex processes of baryon dissipation inside the non-linearly evolving CDM halos, formation of disks and spheroids, and transformation of gas into stars are briefly described, remarking on the possibility of a few driving factors and parameters able to explain the main body of galaxy properties. A summary and a discussion of some of the issues and open problems of the LCDM paradigm are given in the final part of these notes.

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