Dynamics of the Formation of Tidal Structure in Interacting Galaxies as Determined by Newtonian Model Computer Simulations: Phase II


This 3-year, 2-phase research project 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 II of the project lasted from 1999-2000 and, while qualitatively similar to the preliminary phase I, centered around a huge upgrade in the accuracy and scope of the study. The simulator was rewritten in C and given not only much more effeciency and particle-processing power but also additional features - most importantly, a new and more accurate mass model, consisting of a spherical dark halo with a linear density function. The additional galaxies Arp 295 (below) and NGC-4676, along with a preliminary study of M 51, bringing the physical simulation total up to four.
More information:

Abstract

Research Report


NGC 4038/4039:

  • Optical Observations
  • VLA HI Velocity Observations
  • Simulation
  • Simulation Composite
  • Simulation Parameters
  • Simulation vs Observation
  • Arp 295:

  • Optical Observations
  • VLA HI Velocity Observations
  • Simulation
  • Simulation Composite
  • Simulation Parameters
  • Simulation vs Observation
  • NGC 4676:

  • Optical Observations
  • VLA HI Velocity Observations
  • Simulation
  • Simulation Composite
  • Simulation Parameters
  • Simulation vs Observation
  • Parameter Analysis Composite Images:

  • Argument/Inclination
  • Distance
  • Eccentricity
  • Mass Ratio
  • Mass Distribution
  • Time
  • Intergalactic Gravitational Motion Simulator v3.2

    Above right: Interacting galaxy pair ARP 295, IGMSv3.2 simulation (upper) and VLA spectral line observations (lower). Color represents line-of-sight velocity in both images (each color represents a band of roughly 30 km/s).

    Below: Simulation-versus-observation line-of-sight velocity graphs for a line drawn through Arp 295 (left) and NGC 4676 (right). Observation is in blue; simulation is in magenta. Units are kiloparsecs (x-axis) versus kilometers per second (y-axis).

    Arp295, N4676 optical images courtesy J. Hibbard, NRAO-Charlottesville
    N4676 HI Velocity image courtesy J. Hibbard (note: this image not on same color contour scale as simulation)















    Related links:
    National Radio Astronomy Observatory
    Hibbard's Interacting Galaxies Page
    Dubinski's Galaxy Research Site
    NGC 4038/4039 pages: J. Hibbard, J. Dubinski, B. Koribalski
    Arp 295 pages: J. Hibbard
    NGC 4676 pages: J. Hibbard
    Mihos and Hernquist's Colliding Galaxies Movies
    Barnes' Galaxy Simulations Page

    This research was conducted as part of my 12th grade high school science project, which was awarded first place at the Southwestern New Mexico Regional Science Fair, first place at the New Mexico State Science fair, and fourth prize in its category at the 51st International Science and Engineering Fair in Detroit, MI, in 2000; I also recieved the $3000 AAS's Bart and Priscilla Bok Prize (honororable mention) from the AAS and AASP. This project also won first place at the Southwest Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and third place in its category at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in Washington, DC.