Dynamics of galaxies and globular clusters unraveled with two-dimensional kinematics

Date and time
21 Sep 2010 - 00:00 Europe/London


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Slides language

Two-dimensional stellar kinematics obtained with the integral-field spectrograph SAURON allow the classification of early-type galaxies into 'slow' and 'fast' rotators, different from their morphological classification into ellipticals and lenticulars. Most fast rotators, including lenticular as well as many elliptical galaxies, are consistent with oblate axisymmetric disk-like systems. On the other hand, the slow-rotator ellipticals show clear deviations from axisymmetry, which can be modeled with our extension of Schwarzschild's orbit superposition method to triaxial geometry. Besides galaxies, I show that Schwarzschild's method can also be used to model in detail globular clusters such as ω Cen and M15. The recovered internal orbital structure of ω Cen reveals besides a signature of tidal interaction, also a central stellar disk, supporting its origin as the nucleus of a stripped dwarf galaxy. The formally best-fit Schwarzschild model for M15 includes an intermediate-mass black hole, but we cannot exclude a model in which dark remnants make up the dark mass in the collapsed core.