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Stellar velocity dispersion in dissipative galaxy mergers with star formation

  • Author(s): Stickley, NR
  • Canalizo, G
  • et al.

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In order to better understand stellar dynamics in merging systems, such as NGC 6240, we examine the evolution of central stellar velocity dispersion (σ*) in dissipative galaxy mergers using a suite of binary disk merger simulations that include feedback from stellar formation and active galactic nuclei (AGNs). We find that σ* undergoes the same general stages of evolution that were observed in our previous dissipationless simulations: coherent oscillation, then phase mixing, followed by dynamical equilibrium. We also find that measurements of σ* that are based only upon the youngest stars in simulations consistently yield lower values than measurements based upon the total stellar population. This finding appears to be consistent with the so-called "σ* discrepancy," observed in real galaxies. We note that quasar-level AGN activity is much more likely to occur when σ* is near its equilibrium value rather than during periods of extreme σ*. Finally, we provide estimates of the scatter inherent in measuring σ* in ongoing mergers. © 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..

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