Self-consistent models of quasi-relaxed rotating stellar systems

A. L. Varri, G. Bertin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Aims: Two new families of self-consistent axisymmetric truncated equilibrium models for the description of quasi-relaxed rotating stellar systems are presented. The first extends the well-known spherical King models to the case of solid-body rotation. The second is characterized by differential rotation, designed to be rigid in the central regions and to vanish in the outer parts, where the imposed energy truncation becomes effective. Methods: The models are constructed by solving the relevant nonlinear Poisson equation for the self-consistent mean-field potential. For rigidly rotating configurations, the solutions are obtained by an asymptotic expansion based on the rotation strength parameter, following a procedure developed earlier by us for the case of tidally generated triaxial models. The differentially rotating models are constructed by means of a spectral iterative approach, with a numerical scheme based on a Legendre series expansion of the density and the potential. Results: The two classes of models exhibit complementary properties. The rigidly rotating configurations are flattened toward the equatorial plane, with deviations from spherical symmetry that increase with the distance from the center. For models of the second family, the deviations from spherical symmetry are strongest in the central region, whereas the outer parts tend to be quasi-spherical. The relevant parameter spaces are thoroughly explored and the corresponding intrinsic and projected structural properties are described. Special attention is given to the effect of different options for the truncation of the distribution function in phase space. Conclusions: Models in the moderate rotation regime are best suited to applications to globular clusters. For general interest in stellar dynamics, at high values of the rotation strength the differentially rotating models tend to exhibit a toroidal core embedded in an otherwise quasi-spherical configuration. Physically simple analytical models of the kind presented here provide insights into dynamical mechanisms and may be a useful basis for more realistic investigations carried out with the help of N-body simulations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • globular clusters: general
  • methods: analytical


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