Recent Articles

Long-lived spiral structure in galaxies

(Published in ApJ Letters, 2016)

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Spiral structure in disk galaxies is modeled with nine collisionless N-body simulations including live disks, halos, and bulges with a range of masses. Two of these simulations make long-lasting and strong two-arm spiral wave modes that last for 5 billion years with constant pattern speed. These two had a light stellar disk and the largest values of the Toomre Q parameter in the inner region at the time the spirals formed, suggesting the presence of a Q-barrier to wave propagation resulting from the bulge. The relative bulge mass in these cases is about 10%. Models with weak two-arm spirals had pattern speeds that followed the radial dependence of the Inner Lindblad Resonance.