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Observational Evidence Against Long-Lived Spiral Arms in Galaxies  [PDF]
Kelly Foyle,Hans-Walter Rix,Clare Dobbs,Adam Leroy,Fabian Walter
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/735/2/101
Abstract: We test whether the spiral patterns apparent in many large disk galaxies should be thought of as dynamical features that are stationary in a co-rotating frame for > t_{dyn}, as implied by the density wave approach for explaining spiral arms. If such spiral arms have enhanced star formation (SF), observational tracers for different stages of the SF sequence should show a spatial ordering, from up-stream to downstream in the corotating frame: dense HI, CO, tracing molecular hydrogen gas, 24 micron emission tracing enshrouded SF and UV emission tracing unobscured young stars. We argue that such a spatial ordering should be reflected in the angular cross-correlation (CC, in polar coordinates) using all azimuthal positions among pairs of these tracers; the peak of the CC should be offset from zero, in different directions inside and outside the corotation radius. Recent spiral SF simulations by Dobbs & Pringle, show explicitly that for the case of a stationary spiral arm potential such angular offsets between gas and young stars of differing ages should be observable as cross-correlation offsets. We calculate the angular cross-correlations for different observational SF sequence tracers in 12 nearby spiral galaxies, drawing on a data set with high quality maps of the neutral gas HI, THINGS), molecular gas (CO, HERACLES) along with 24 micron emission (Spitzer, SINGS); we include FUV images (GALEX) and 3.6 $\mu$m emission (Spitzer, IRAC) for some galaxies, tracing aging stars and longer timescales. In none of the resulting tracer cross-correlations for this sample do we find systematic angular offsets, which would be expected for a stationary dynamical spiral pattern of well-defined pattern speed. This result indicates that spiral density waves in their simplest form are not an important aspect of explaining spirals in large disk galaxies.
The dynamics of long-lived spiral arms  [cached]
Fujii M.S.,Baba J.,Saitoh T.R.,Kokubo E.
EPJ Web of Conferences , 2012, DOI: 10.1051/epjconf/20121907009
Abstract: It has been believed that spiral arms in pure stellar disks decay in several galactic rotations due to the heating by the spiral arms. However, it might be caused by a numerical heating. We performed a three-dimensional N-body simulations with a sufficiently large number of particles and found that stellar disks can maintain spiral arms for more than 10 Gyr without the help of cooling. Spiral arms are transient and recurrent and they heat disk with a heating rate, dQ/dt, correlated to the spiral amplitude |Am|. On the other hand, |Am| is suppressed by Toomre’s Q. Therefore, the dynamical heating becomes less effective in the later phase of the evolution. This mechanism maintain the spiral arms for more than 10 Gyr.
Gas and Stellar Motions and Observational Signatures of Co-Rotating Spiral Arms  [PDF]
Daisuke Kawata,Jason A. S. Hunt,Robert J. J. Grand,Stefano Pasetto,Mark Cropper
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stu1292
Abstract: We have observed a snapshot of our N-body/Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics simulation of a Milky Way-sized barred spiral galaxy in a similar way to how we can observe the Milky Way. The simulated galaxy shows a co-rotating spiral arm, i.e. the spiral arm rotates with the same speed as the circular speed. We observed the rotation and radial velocities of the gas and stars as a function of the distance from our assumed location of the observer at the three lines of sight on the disc plane, (l, b) = (90, 0), (120, 0) and (150,0) deg. We find that the stars tend to rotate slower (faster) behind (at the front of) the spiral arm and move outward (inward), because of the radial migration. However, because of their epicycle motion, we see a variation of rotation and radial velocities around the spiral arm. On the other hand, the cold gas component shows a clearer trend of rotating slower (faster) and moving outward (inward) behind (at the front of) the spiral arm, because of the radial migration. We have compared the results with the velocity of the maser sources from Reid et al. (2014), and find that the observational data show a similar trend in the rotation velocity around the expected position of the spiral arm at l = 120 deg. We also compared the distribution of the radial velocity from the local standard of the rest, V_LSR, with the APOGEE data at l = 90 deg as an example.
Dynamics of Non-Steady Spiral Arms in Disk Galaxies  [PDF]
Junichi Baba,Takayuki R. Saitoh,Keiichi Wada
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/763/1/46
Abstract: In order to understand the physical mechanisms underlying non-steady stellar spiral arms in disk galaxies, we analyzed the growing and damping phases of their spiral arms using three-dimensional $N$-body simulations. We confirmed that the spiral arms are formed due to a swing amplification mechanism that reinforces density enhancement as a seeded wake. In the damping phase, the Coriolis force exerted on a portion of the arm surpasses the gravitational force that acts to shrink the portion. Consequently, the stars in the portion escape from the arm, and subsequently they form a new arm at a different location. The time-dependent nature of the spiral arms are originated in the continual repetition of this non-linear phenomenon. Since a spiral arm does not rigidly rotate, but follows the galactic differential rotation, the stars in the arm rotate at almost the same rate as the arm. In other words, every single position in the arm can be regarded as the co-rotation point. Due to interaction with their host arms, the energy and angular momentum of the stars change, thereby causing the radial migration of the stars. During this process, the kinetic energy of random motion (random energy) of the stars does not significantly increase, and the disk remains dynamically cold. Owing to this low degree of disk heating, the short-lived spiral arms can recurrently develop over many rotational periods. The resultant structure of the spiral arms in the $N$-body simulations is consistent with some observational nature of spiral galaxies. We conclude that the formation and structure of spiral arms in isolated disk galaxies can be reasonably understood by non-linear interactions between a spiral arm and its constituent stars.
Observational Signatures of Planets in Protoplanetary Disks II: Spiral Arms Observed in Scattered Light Imaging Can be Induced by Planets  [PDF]
Ruobing Dong,Zhaohuan Zhu,Roman Rafikov,James Stone
Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/809/1/L5
Abstract: Using 3D global hydro simulations coupled with radiative transfer calculations, we study the appearance of density waves induced by giant planets in direct imaging observations at near infrared wavelengths. We find that a 6 MJ planet in a typical disk around a 1 M_sun star can produce prominent and detectable spiral arms both interior and exterior to its orbit. The inner arms have (1) two well separated arms in roughly m=2 symmetry, (2) exhibit ~10-15 degrees pitch angles, (3) ~180-270 degrees extension in the azimuthal direction, and (4) ~150% surface brightness enhancement, all broadly consistent with observed spiral arms in the SAO 206462 and MWC 758 systems. The outer arms cannot explain observations as they are too tightly wound given typical disk scale height. We confirm previous results that the outer density waves excited by a 1 MJ planet exhibit low contrast in the IR and are practically not detectable. We also find that 3D effects of the waves are important. Compared to isothermal models, density waves in adiabatic disks exhibit weaker contrast in surface density but stronger contrast in scattered light images, due to a more pronounced vertical structure in the former caused by shock heating. To drive observed pairs of arms with an external companion on a circular orbit, a massive planet, possibly a brown dwarf, is needed at around [r~0.7", PA~10 degrees] (position angle PA from north to east) in SAO 206462 and [r~0.6", PA~10 degrees] in MWC 758. Their existence may be confirmed by direct imaging planet searches.
The dynamics of stars around spiral arms  [PDF]
Robert J. J. Grand,Daisuke Kawata,Mark Cropper
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.20411.x
Abstract: Spiral density wave theory attempts to describe the spiral pattern in spiral galaxies in terms of a long-lived wave structure with a constant pattern speed in order to avoid the winding dilemma. The pattern is consequently a rigidly rotating, long-lived feature. We run N-body simulations of a giant disc galaxy consisting of a pure stellar disc and a static dark matter halo, and find that the spiral arms are transient features whose pattern speeds decrease with radius, in such a way that the pattern speed is almost equal to the rotation curve of the galaxy. We trace particle motion around the spiral arms. We show that particles from behind and in front of the spiral arm are drawn towards and join the arm. Particles move along the arm in the radial direction and we find a clear trend that they migrate toward the outer (inner) radii on the trailing (leading) side of the arm. Our simulations demonstrate that because the spiral arm feature is co-rotating, the particles continue to be accelerated (decelerated) by the spiral arm for long periods, which leads to strong and efficient migration, at all radii in the disc.
Star Formation in Spiral Arms  [PDF]
Bruce G. Elmegreen
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1051/eas/1151002
Abstract: The origin and types of spiral arms are reviewed with an emphasis on the connections between these arms and star formation. Flocculent spiral arms are most likely the result of transient instabilities in the gas that promote dense cloud formation, star formation, and generate turbulence. Long irregular spiral arms are usually initiated by gravitational instabilities in the stars, with the gas contributing to and following these instabilities, and star formation in the gas. Global spiral arms triggered by global perturbations, such as a galaxy interaction, can be wavemodes with wave reflection in the inner regions. They might grow and dominate the disk for several rotations before degenerating into higher-order modes by non-linear effects. Interstellar gas flows through these global arms, and through the more transient stellar spiral arms as well, where it can reach a high density and low shear, thereby promoting self-gravitational instabilities. The result is the formation of giant spiral arm cloud complexes, in which dense molecular clouds form and turn into stars. The molecular envelops and debris from these clouds appear to survive and drift through the interarm regions for a long time, possibly 100 Myr or more, with lingering spontaneous star formation and triggered star formation in the pieces that are still at high-pressure edges near older HII regions.
Swinging Spiral Arms  [PDF]
Richard N Henriksen
Physics , 2012,
Abstract: We study transient spiral structures in an isothermal, thin, galactic disc. We find no instability that can grow everywhere from infinitesimal disturbances, but spiral structure does grow in the disc due to an arbitrarily strong, asymmetric, central source. An initially finite spiral undergoes transient swing amplification as it is gradually wound-up by differential rotation. An independent sequence in negative time describes a leading spiral swinging to a trailing spiral. The dynamical coupling is established between the swinging potential and the arm particles, by ensuring that this potential constrains a locally rotating distribution function centred on the arms. This swing amplification propagates in radius at the constant rotational speed of the disc, and leaves behind an exponential density decline in space and time.
The Galactic Branches as a Possible Evidence for Transient Spiral Arms  [PDF]
Angeles Pérez-Villegas,Gilberto C. Gómez,Bárbara Pichardo
Physics , 2015,
Abstract: With the use of a background Milky-Way-like potential model, we performed stellar orbital and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations. As a first experiment, we studied the gaseous response to a bisymmetric spiral arm potential: the widely employed cosine potential model and a self-gravitating tridimensional density distribution based model called PERLAS. Important differences are noticeable in these simulations, while the simplified cosine potential produces two spiral arms for all cases, the more realistic density based model produces a response of four spiral arms on the gaseous disk, except for weak arms -i.e. close to the linear regime- where a two-armed structure is formed. In order to compare the stellar and gas response to the spiral arms, we have also included a detailed periodic orbit study and explored different structural parameters within observational uncertainties. The four armed response has been explained as the result of ultra harmonic resonances, or as shocks with the massive bisymmetric spiral structure, among other. From the results of this work, and comparing the stellar and gaseous responses, we tracked down an alternative explanation to the formation of branches, based only on the orbital response to a self-gravitating spiral arms model. The presence of features such as branches, might be an indication of transiency of the arms.
Feathering Instability of Spiral Arms. II. Parameter Study  [PDF]
Wing-Kit Lee
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/792/2/122
Abstract: We report the results of a parameter study of the feathering stability in the galactic spiral arms. A two-dimensional razor-thin magnetized self-gravitating gas disk with an imposed two-armed stellar spiral structure is considered. Using the formulation developed previously by Lee and Shu, a linear stability analysis of the spiral shock is performed in a localized Cartesian geometry. Results of the parameter study of the base state with a spiral shock are also presented. The single-mode feathering instability that leads to growing perturbations may explain the feathering phenomenon found in nearby spiral galaxies. The self-gravity of the gas, characterized by its average surface density, is an important parameter which 1) shifts the spiral shock further downstream; 2) increases the growth rate and decreases the characteristic spacing of the feathering structure due to the instability. On the other hand, while the magnetic field suppresses the velocity fluctuation associated with the feathers, it does not strongly affect their growth rate. Using a set of typical parameters of the grand-design spiral galaxy M51 at 2 kpc from the center, the spacing of the feathers with the maximum growth rate is found to be 530 pc, which agrees with the previous observational studies.
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