Dynamics of the Formation of Tidal Structure in Interacting Galaxies as Determined
by Newtonian Model Computer Simulations: Phase I
This 3-year, 2-phase research project is by far the largest and most complex I have
completed. The project consisted of a study of the properties and effects of gravitational
interaction both in real and modeled galaxy systems. In each of the two phases, I programmed
an n-body gravitational simulator and used it to model galaxy interactions. I also reduced
VLA spectral data on real galaxy systems and used it to construct dynamic, 3-dimensional
models of the galaxies within the simulator.
Phase I of the effort, which lasted from 1998-1999, was essentially a preliminary
investigation of the subject before the far more intense Phase II, with only a single galaxy
system (NGC 4038-4039), a highly oversimplified model (Toomre point-masses), and a simpler
simulator (written in BASIC). Nevertheless, it is a complete study of galaxy interaction
and involves its own set of abstract, research report, and images. In fact, given the
simplicity of the model Phase I was extraordinarily successful, reproducing a large number
of tidal galactic features and generating a surprisingly accurate 3-D dynamic model of the
NGC-4038/4039 system. However, please note that the corresponding elements in the Phase II
section are more accurate and more detailed.
NGC-4038/4039, HI Observations vs.
Computer Simulation (IGMS 2.2)
(HI image courtesy J.Hibbard)
Intergalactic Gravitation Motion Simulator v2.2
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Hibbard's Interacting Galaxies Page
Hibbard's NGC-4038/4039 Page
Dubinski's NGC-4038/4039 Simulation
Mihos and Hernquist's Colliding Galaxies Movies
Barnes' Galaxy Simulations Page
This research was conducted as part of my 11th grade high school science project, which was awarded second place at the Southwestern New Mexico Regional Science Fair in 1999.