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Astron. Astrophys. 355, 532-536 (2000)


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Binary galaxy spin correlations arising from mergers of galaxies

S. Wirén 1, B. Liu 1,2 and M.J. Valtonen 1

1 Tuorla Observatory, University of Turku, 21500 Piikkiö, Finland
2 Beijing Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, P.R. China

Received 4 December 1998 / Accepted 7 December 1999

Abstract

Statistics of spin orientations in binary galaxies may be used as a tool to study the formation process of galaxies. Helou found that the spins of spiral galaxies in binary systems are anticorrelated, and he suggested that it may have to do with the inclination dependence of the galaxy merger process. We study this dependence in small groups of galaxies. An N-body code is developed which uses an inclination dependent dynamical friction law to affect mergers of galaxies. It is found that some correlation results in this way in groups which have initially random spin orientations.

Key words: galaxies: clusters: general – galaxies: evolution – galaxies: interactions

Send offprint requests to: M.J. Valtonen

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: March 9, 2000

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