Astrophys. J., 726, 98 (2011/January-2)
On the efficiency of the tidal stirring mechanism for the origin of dwarf spheroidals: dependence on the orbital and structural parameters of the progenitor disky dwarfs.
KAZANTZIDIS S., LOKAS E.L., CALLEGARI S., MAYER L. and MOUSTAKAS L.A.
Abstract (from CDS):
The tidal stirring model posits the formation of dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs) via the tidal interactions between late-type, rotationally supported dwarfs and Milky-Way-sized host galaxies. Using a comprehensive set of collisionless N-body simulations, we investigate the efficiency of the tidal stirring mechanism for the origin of dSphs. In particular, we examine the degree to which the tidal field of the primary galaxy affects the sizes, masses, shapes, and kinematics of the disky dwarfs for a range of dwarf orbital and structural parameters. Our study is the first to employ self-consistent, equilibrium models for the progenitor dwarf galaxies constructed from a composite distribution function and consisting of exponential stellar disks embedded in massive, cosmologically motivated dark matter halos. Exploring a wide variety of dwarf orbital configurations and initial structures, we demonstrate that in the majority of cases the disky dwarfs experience significant mass loss and their stellar distributions undergo a dramatic morphological, as well as dynamical, transformation. Specifically, the stellar components evolve from disks to bars and finally to pressure-supported, spheroidal systems with kinematic and structural properties akin to those of the classic dSphs in the Local Group (LG) and similar environments. The self-consistency of the adopted dwarf models is crucial for confirming this complex transformation process via tidally induced dynamical instabilities and impulsive tidal heating of the stellar distribution. Our results suggest that such tidal transformations should be common occurrences within the currently favored cosmological paradigm and highlight the key factor responsible for an effective metamorphosis to be the strength of the tidal shocks at the pericenters of the orbit. We also demonstrate that the combination of short orbital times and small pericentric distances, characteristic of dwarfs being accreted by their hosts at high redshift, induces the strongest and most complete transformations. Our models also indicate that the efficiency of the transformation via tidal stirring is affected significantly by the structure of the progenitor disky dwarfs. While the mass-to-light ratios, M/L, of the dwarf galaxies typically decrease monotonically with time as the extended dark matter halos are efficiently tidally stripped, we identify a few cases where this trend is reversed later in the evolution when stellar mass loss becomes more effective. We also find that the dwarf remnants satisfy the relation, where σ* is the one-dimensional, central stellar velocity dispersion and Vmax is the maximum halo circular velocity, which has intriguing implications for the missing satellites problem. Assuming that the distant dSphs in the LG, such as Leo I, Tucana, and Cetus, are the products of tidal stirring, our findings suggest that these galaxies should have only been partially stirred by the tidal field of their hosts. We thus predict that these remote dwarfs should exhibit higher values of Vrot/σ*, where Vrot is the stellar rotational velocity, compared with those of dSphs located closer to the primary galaxies. Overall, we conclude that the action of tidal forces from the hosts constitutes a crucial evolutionary mechanism for shaping the nature of dwarf galaxies in environments such as that of the LG. Environmental mechanisms of this type should thus be included as ingredients in models of dwarf galaxy formation and evolution.
galaxies: dwarf - galaxies: evolution - galaxies: interactions - galaxies: kinematics and dynamics - galaxies: structure - Local Group
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