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Galaxy fusion provides an explanation for asymmetrical stellar velocities in elliptical galaxies
Author/s: A. César González-García, Marc Balcells, Vyacheslav S. Olshevsky
Reference: Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 372, L78–L82 (2006) | Link
Snapshots of the distribution of luminous material (bulb and disc) in a model of a galaxy during the accretion of a satellite, from a simulation to N bodies. Each image measures 45 kpc per side. Consecutive images are separated by 80 million years, and the total time covered is 2 giga years. The satellite, in yellow, is in orbit in the direction of rotation of the disc (anti-clockwise) and enters the field of view in the seventh snapshot. Each one of the primary passes through the pericenter is followed by spiral distortions in the primary disc, which redistribute its material and produce an increase in the bulb-disc relationship.
Using the IAC's Beowulf group of computers and the National Supercomputing Centre's Mare Nostrum, an IAC team has simulated the process of galaxy fusion by tracking the trajectory and interactions of more than a million particles.
These simulations have made it possible to reproduce the behaviour of stellar velocities in elliptical galaxies.