Galaxy Mergers

The movie shows a low surface brightness galaxy (with exponential scale length 5.0 kpc) merging with a high surface brightness galaxy (scale length = 3.5 kpc.) Niether galaxy contains gas. Both are 10^12 solar masses, have the same dark matter profiles, and they each contain same number of stars. The galaxies are put on a parabolic orbit with their centers initially two virial radii apart such that the orbit's pericenter distance will be 0.2 times each halo's virial radius. The LSB is randomly oriented and the HSB is set on a direct approach. The simulation time from start to finish is 6 billion years.

Richard Plotkin

This movie shows the gas distribution of two spiral galaxies as they interact and merge. The stellar disk and the dark matter halos are included in the simulation, but are not shown. The movie spans several billion years and the frame is 50 kilo parsecs across. Interactions drive disk instabilities that funnel gas to the center. The merger remnant, a spehroidal galaxy, undergoes enhanced star formation at its center. The remaining gas forms a circumnuclear disk, a feature often observed at the center of elliptical galaxies.

Richard Plotkin, Greg Stinson

A musical rendition of the two earlier movies put together.

Richard Plotkin, Mike Plotkin