AAS 198th Meeting, June 2001
Session 8. Normal Galaxies: Stellar Pops, ISM and Dynamics
Display, Monday, June 4, 2001, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[8.15] Tidal Tails and Stellar Disk Truncation

J.K. Holley-Bockelmann, J.C. Mihos (Case Western Reserve University)

Recent optical and near-infrared surface photometry of edge-on disk galaxies has revealed that stellar disks may be truncated at scalelengths much smaller than previously believed. In fact, truncation radii may be, on average, as small as 2.9 ±0.7 R-band disk scale lengths (Pohlen et al 2000). We show that such small truncation radii inhibit the development of extended tidal debris in merging galaxies. We focus on the archetypical merger galaxy, NGC 7252, comparing the observed amount of tidal light with that produced in dynamical models of this system. The models vary the truncation radii and structural properties of the merging disk galaxies, as well as the orbital properties of the encounter. We find that it is very hard to reconcile the large amount of tidal light in NGC 7252 with truncation radii much smaller than 4 disk scale lengths.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: kelly@eor.astr.cwru.edu

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