EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 413, Number 2, January II 2004
Page(s) 547 - 561
Section Galactic structure and dynamics
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20034282
Published online 18 December 2003

A&A 413, 547-561 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20034282

Gas physics, disk fragmentation, and bulge formation in young galaxies

A. Immeli1, M. Samland1, O. Gerhard1 and P. Westera2

1  Astronomisches Institut der Universität Basel, Venusstrasse 7, 4102 Binningen, Switzerland
2  Observatório do Valongo, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Ladeira do Pedro Antônio, 43, CEP 20080-090, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

(Received 5 September 2003 / Accepted 30 September 2003 )

We investigate the evolution of star-forming gas-rich disks, using a 3D chemodynamical model including a dark halo, stars, and a two-phase interstellar medium with feedback processes from the stars. We show that galaxy evolution proceeds along very different routes depending on whether it is the gas disk or the stellar disk which first becomes unstable, as measured by the respective Q-parameters. This in turn depends on the uncertain efficiency of energy dissipation of the cold cloud component from which stars form.

When the cold gas cools efficiently and drives the instability, the galactic disk fragments and forms a number of massive clumps of stars and gas. The clumps spiral to the center of the galaxy in a few dynamical times and merge there to form a central bulge component in a strong starburst. When the kinetic energy of the cold clouds is dissipated at a lower rate, stars form from the gas in a more quiescent mode, and an instability only sets in at later times, when the surface density of the stellar disk has grown sufficiently high. The system then forms a stellar bar, which channels gas into the center, evolves, and forms a bulge whose stars are the result of a more extended star formation history.

We investigate the stability of the gas-stellar disks in both regimes, as well as the star formation rates and element enrichment. We study the morphology of the evolving disks, calculating spatially resolved colours from the distribution of stars in age and metallicity, including dust absorption. We then discuss morphological observations such as clumpy structures and chain galaxies at high redshift as possible signatures of fragmenting, gas-rich disks. Finally, we investigate abundance ratio distributions as a means to distinguish the different scenarios of bulge formation.

Key words: ISM: kinematics and dynamics -- ISM: structure -- galaxies: abundances -- galaxies: bulges -- galaxies: evolution -- galaxies: kinematics and dynamics

Offprint request: A. Immeli, Andreas.Immeli@unibas.ch

SIMBAD Objects in preparation

© ESO 2004

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