AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 87. Interacting Galaxies
Display, Wednesday, January 9, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Monroe/Lincoln

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[87.03] Merging and Star Formation in "Pancaking" Disk Galaxies.

J. P. Morgan, S. A. Lamb, N. C. Hearn, S. Kwon (University of Illinois)

We present a survey of numerical simulations of colliding disk galaxies in which the spin axes and initial relative velocity are parallel. The effects of varying the relative angular momentum, impact velocity, and distance between the disk centers at impact are explored. The simulations employ an N-body treatment of the stars and dark matter, together with a Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics treatment of the gas, where all six components of the models (two dark halos, gaseous disks, and stellar disks) are gravitationally active. The results indicate that, for such an impact geometry, collisions of the gaseous disks can lead to the very rapid formation of a central dense, tilted gas disk for co-rotating galaxies, and that in all cases extensive star formation is predicted by the very high gas densities obtained. However, the location and timing of that star formation is very dependent upon the details of the impact geometry. The formation of a merger progenitor from two disk galaxies whose nuclei initially pass within a few kiloparsecs of each other can proceed very rapidly, on a timescale of order 100 million years, for disk galaxies with masses comparable to that of the Milky Way. However, simultaneously, gas and stars are dispersed over very large volumes. A video demonstrating some of these results will be presented. We would like to acknowledge support from DOE LLNL B506657.

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