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Bulges versus disks

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  • Jesus Zavala Franco
  • T. Okamoto
  • Carlos S. Frenk
We investigate the evolution of angular momentum in simulations of galaxy formation in a cold dark matter universe. We analyse two model galaxies generated in the N-body/hydrodynamic simulations of Okamoto et al. Starting from identical initial conditions, but using different assumptions for the baryonic physics, one of the simulations produced a bulge-dominated galaxy and the other one a disc-dominated galaxy. The main difference is the treatment of star formation and feedback, both of which were designed to be more efficient in the disc-dominated object. We find that the specific angular momentum of the disc-dominated galaxy tracks the evolution of the angular momentum of the dark matter halo very closely: the angular momentum grows as predicted by linear theory until the epoch of maximum expansion and remains constant thereafter. By contrast, the evolution of the angular momentum of the bulge-dominated galaxy resembles that of the central, most bound halo material: it also grows at first according to linear theory, but 90% of it is rapidly lost as pre-galactic fragments, into which gas had cooled efficiently, merge, transferring their orbital angular momentum to the outer halo by tidal effects. The disc-dominated galaxy avoids this fate because the strong feedback reheats the gas which accumulates in an extended hot reservoir and only begins to cool once the merging activity has subsided. Our analysis lends strong support to the classical theory of disc formation whereby tidally torqued gas is accreted into the centre of the halo conserving its angular momentum.
TidsskriftMonthly Noticies of the Royal Astronomical Society
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)364-370
StatusUdgivet - 2008
Eksternt udgivetJa

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