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The slowing down of galaxy disks in dissipationless minor mergers

Qu, Y and Di Matteo, P and Lehnert, M and van Driel, W and Jog, CJ (2010) The slowing down of galaxy disks in dissipationless minor mergers. In: Astronomy & Astrophysics, 512 (A11).

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We have investigated the impact of dissipationless minor galaxy mergers on the angular momentum of the remnant. Our simulations cover a range of initial orbital characteristics, and the system consists of a massive galaxy with a bulge and disk merging with a much less massive (one-tenth or one-twentieth) gasless companion that has a variety of morphologies (disk-or elliptical-like) and central baryonic mass concentrations. During the process of merging, the orbital angular momentum is redistributed into the internal angular momentum of the final system; the internal angular momentum of the primary galaxy can increase or decrease depending on the relative orientation of the orbital spin vectors (direct or retrograde), while the initially nonrotating dark matter halo always gains angular momentum. The specific angular momentum of the stellar component always decreases independently of the orbital parameters or morphology of the satellite, the decrease in the rotation velocity of the primary galaxy is accompanied by a change in the anisotropy of the orbits, and the ratio of rotation speed to velocity dispersion of the merger remnant is lower than the initial value, not only because of an increase in the dispersion but also of the slowing-down of the disk rotation. We briefly discuss several astrophysical implications of these results, suggesting that minor mergers do not cause a "random walk" process of the angular momentum of the stellar disk component of galaxies, but rather a steady decrease. Minor mergers may play a role in producing the large scatter observed in the Tully-Fisher relation for S0 galaxies, as well as in the increase of the velocity dispersion and the decrease in upsilon/sigma at large radii as observed in S0 galaxies.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to EDP Sciences.
Keywords: galaxies:interactions galaxies:formation galaxies:evolution galaxies:k inematics and dynamics galaxies:structure
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Physics
Depositing User: Ms TV Yashodha
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2010 10:20
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2010 10:20
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/29135

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