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On the Efficiency of the Tidal Stirring Mechanism for the Origin of Dwarf Spheroidals: Dependence on the Orbital and Structural Parameters of the Progenitor Disky Dwarfs


Kazantzidis, S; Lokas, E L; Callegari, S; Mayer, L; Moustakas, L A (2011). On the Efficiency of the Tidal Stirring Mechanism for the Origin of Dwarf Spheroidals: Dependence on the Orbital and Structural Parameters of the Progenitor Disky Dwarfs. Astrophysical Journal, 726(2):98.

Abstract

The tidal stirring model posits the formation of dSph galaxies via the tidal interactions between rotationally-supported dwarfs and MW-sized host galaxies. Using a set of collisionless N-body simulations, we investigate the efficiency of the tidal stirring mechanism. We explore a wide variety of dwarf orbital configurations and initial structures and demonstrate that in most cases the disky dwarfs experience significant mass loss and their stellar components undergo a dramatic morphological and dynamical transformation: from disks to bars and finally to pressure-supported spheroidal systems with kinematic and structural properties akin to those of the classic dSphs in the Local Group (LG). Our results suggest that such tidal transformations should be common occurrences within the currently favored cosmological paradigm and highlight the key factor responsible for an effective metamorphosis to be the strength of the tidal shocks at the pericenters of the orbit. We demonstrate that the combination of short orbital times and small pericenters, characteristic of dwarfs being accreted at high redshift, induces the strongest transformations. Our models also indicate that the transformation efficiency is affected significantly by the structure of the progenitor disky dwarfs. Lastly, we find that the dwarf remnants satisfy the relation Vmax = \sqrt{3} * sigma, where sigma is the 1D, central stellar velocity dispersion and Vmax is the maximum halo circular velocity, with intriguing implications for the missing satellites problem. Overall, we conclude that the action of tidal forces from the hosts constitutes a crucial evolutionary mechanism for shaping the nature of dwarf galaxies in environments such as that of the LG. Environmental processes of this type should thus be included as ingredients in models of dwarf galaxy formation and evolution.

Abstract

The tidal stirring model posits the formation of dSph galaxies via the tidal interactions between rotationally-supported dwarfs and MW-sized host galaxies. Using a set of collisionless N-body simulations, we investigate the efficiency of the tidal stirring mechanism. We explore a wide variety of dwarf orbital configurations and initial structures and demonstrate that in most cases the disky dwarfs experience significant mass loss and their stellar components undergo a dramatic morphological and dynamical transformation: from disks to bars and finally to pressure-supported spheroidal systems with kinematic and structural properties akin to those of the classic dSphs in the Local Group (LG). Our results suggest that such tidal transformations should be common occurrences within the currently favored cosmological paradigm and highlight the key factor responsible for an effective metamorphosis to be the strength of the tidal shocks at the pericenters of the orbit. We demonstrate that the combination of short orbital times and small pericenters, characteristic of dwarfs being accreted at high redshift, induces the strongest transformations. Our models also indicate that the transformation efficiency is affected significantly by the structure of the progenitor disky dwarfs. Lastly, we find that the dwarf remnants satisfy the relation Vmax = \sqrt{3} * sigma, where sigma is the 1D, central stellar velocity dispersion and Vmax is the maximum halo circular velocity, with intriguing implications for the missing satellites problem. Overall, we conclude that the action of tidal forces from the hosts constitutes a crucial evolutionary mechanism for shaping the nature of dwarf galaxies in environments such as that of the LG. Environmental processes of this type should thus be included as ingredients in models of dwarf galaxy formation and evolution.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:September 2011
Deposited On:02 Mar 2011 09:28
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:34
Publisher:Institute of Physics Publishing
ISSN:0004-637X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/726/2/98
Related URLs:http://www.arxiv.com/abs/1009.2499

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