We investigate two possible effects of the tidal field induced by a spherical cluster on its elliptical galaxy members: the modification of the ellipticity of a spherical galaxy and the isophotal alignment in the cluster radial direction of a misaligned prolate galaxy. Numerical N-body simulations have been performed for radial and circular galactic orbits. The properties of the stars' zero-velocity surfaces in the perturbed galaxy are explored briefly, and the adiabaticity of the galaxy to the external field is discussed. For a choice of parameters characteristic of rich clusters, we find that the induced ellipticity on a spherical galaxy is below or close to the detectability level. But we find that the tidal torque can result in significant isophotal alignment of the galaxy's major axis with the cluster radial direction if the galaxy is outside the cluster core radius. The time required for the alignment is very short compared with the Hubble time. A significant increase in the ellipticity of the outer isophotes of the prolate model is also found, but with no observable isophotal twisting. Our main prediction is an alignment segregation of the elliptical galaxy population according to whether their orbits lie mostly outside or inside the cluster core radius. These results also suggest that galactic alignment in rich clusters is not incompatible with a bottom-up galaxy formation scenario.

Alignment and morphology of elliptical galaxies: The influence of the cluster tidal field

ciotti, l.;
1994

Abstract

We investigate two possible effects of the tidal field induced by a spherical cluster on its elliptical galaxy members: the modification of the ellipticity of a spherical galaxy and the isophotal alignment in the cluster radial direction of a misaligned prolate galaxy. Numerical N-body simulations have been performed for radial and circular galactic orbits. The properties of the stars' zero-velocity surfaces in the perturbed galaxy are explored briefly, and the adiabaticity of the galaxy to the external field is discussed. For a choice of parameters characteristic of rich clusters, we find that the induced ellipticity on a spherical galaxy is below or close to the detectability level. But we find that the tidal torque can result in significant isophotal alignment of the galaxy's major axis with the cluster radial direction if the galaxy is outside the cluster core radius. The time required for the alignment is very short compared with the Hubble time. A significant increase in the ellipticity of the outer isophotes of the prolate model is also found, but with no observable isophotal twisting. Our main prediction is an alignment segregation of the elliptical galaxy population according to whether their orbits lie mostly outside or inside the cluster core radius. These results also suggest that galactic alignment in rich clusters is not incompatible with a bottom-up galaxy formation scenario.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/905509
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