Spiral Structure Formation in Disk Galaxies

Type Conference Paper
Names E. D'Onghia, M. Vogelsberger, L. Hernquist
Conference Name Advances in Computational Astrophysics: Methods, Tools, and Outcome
Volume 453
Pages 269
Date July 1, 2012
ISBN 1050-3390
URL http://adsabs.org/2012ASPC.453.269D
Library Catalog labs.adsabs.harvard.edu
Abstract Spiral structure in galaxies was recognized as likely originating from the action of density waves propagating through a differentially rotating disk. However, the origin of these features remains controversial. Using very high resolution numerical simulations we show that spiral arms might be seeded by density inhomogeneities orbiting in the disk itself. These perturbations can be identified with fluctuations in the distribution of gas in the interstellar medium of galaxies, such as giant molecular clouds. Our simulations show that when sufficient numbers of these perturbers are present, they collectively amplify to yield large-scale spiral patterns that resemble the spiral arms in flocculent and intermediate late type spiral galaxies.
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