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Evolutionary tracks of tidally stirred disky dwarf galaxies


Łokas, E L; Kazantzidis, S; Mayer, L (2011). Evolutionary tracks of tidally stirred disky dwarf galaxies. Astrophysical Journal, 739(1):46.

Abstract

Using collisionless N-body simulations, we investigate the tidal evolution of late-type, rotationally supported dwarfs inside Milky Way sized host galaxies. Our study focuses on a wide variety of dwarf orbital configurations and initial structures. During the evolution, the disky dwarfs undergo strong mass loss, the stellar disks are transformed into spheroids, and rotation is replaced by random motions of the stars. Thus, the late-type progenitors are transformed into early-type dwarfs as envisioned by the tidal stirring model for the formation of dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxies in the Local Group. We determine the photometric properties of the dwarfs, including the total visual magnitude, the half-light radius, and the central surface brightness as they would be measured by an observer near the galactic center. Special emphasis is also placed on studying their kinematics and shapes. We demonstrate that the measured values are biased by a number of observational effects including the increasing angle of the observation cone near the orbital pericenter, the fact that away from the pericenter the tidal tails are typically oriented along the line of sight, and the fact that for most of the evolution the stellar components of the dwarfs are triaxial ellipsoids whose major axis tumbles with respect to the line of sight. Finally, we compare the measured properties of the simulated dwarfs to those of dwarf galaxies in the Local Group. The evolutionary tracks of the dwarfs in different parameter planes and the correlations between their different properties, especially the total magnitude and the surface brightness, strongly suggest that present-day dSph galaxies may have indeed formed from late-type progenitors as proposed by the tidal stirring scenario.

Using collisionless N-body simulations, we investigate the tidal evolution of late-type, rotationally supported dwarfs inside Milky Way sized host galaxies. Our study focuses on a wide variety of dwarf orbital configurations and initial structures. During the evolution, the disky dwarfs undergo strong mass loss, the stellar disks are transformed into spheroids, and rotation is replaced by random motions of the stars. Thus, the late-type progenitors are transformed into early-type dwarfs as envisioned by the tidal stirring model for the formation of dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxies in the Local Group. We determine the photometric properties of the dwarfs, including the total visual magnitude, the half-light radius, and the central surface brightness as they would be measured by an observer near the galactic center. Special emphasis is also placed on studying their kinematics and shapes. We demonstrate that the measured values are biased by a number of observational effects including the increasing angle of the observation cone near the orbital pericenter, the fact that away from the pericenter the tidal tails are typically oriented along the line of sight, and the fact that for most of the evolution the stellar components of the dwarfs are triaxial ellipsoids whose major axis tumbles with respect to the line of sight. Finally, we compare the measured properties of the simulated dwarfs to those of dwarf galaxies in the Local Group. The evolutionary tracks of the dwarfs in different parameter planes and the correlations between their different properties, especially the total magnitude and the surface brightness, strongly suggest that present-day dSph galaxies may have indeed formed from late-type progenitors as proposed by the tidal stirring scenario.

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9 citations in Scopus®
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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:18 Feb 2012 10:03
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:20
Publisher:IOP Publishing
ISSN:0004-637X (P) 1538-4357 (E)
Publisher DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/739/1/46
Related URLs:http://arxiv.org/abs/1103.4909
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-54450

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