EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 495, Number 3, March I 2009
Page(s) 743 - 758
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200810149
Published online 22 December 2008
A&A 495, 743-758 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200810149

Invariant manifolds and the response of spiral arms in barred galaxies

P. Tsoutsis1, 2,  C. Kalapotharakos1,  C. Efthymiopoulos1, and G. Contopoulos1

1  Research Center for Astronomy, Academy of Athens, Soranou Efessiou 4, 11527 Athens, Greece
    e-mail: [ptsoutsi;ckalapot]@phys.uoa.gr; [cefthim;gcontop]@academyofathens.gr
2  Department of Physics, University of Athens, 11527 Athens, Greece

Received 7 May 2008 / Accepted 4 December 2008

The unstable invariant manifolds of the short-period family of periodic orbits around the unstable Lagrangian points L1 and L2 of a barred galaxy define loci in the configuration space, which take the form of a trailing spiral pattern. In previous works we explored the association of such a pattern to the observed spiral pattern in N-body models of barred-spiral galaxies and found it to be quite relevant. Our aims in the present paper are: a) to investigate this association in the case of the self-consistent models of Kaufmann & Contopoulos (1996, A&A, 309, 381), which provide an approximation of real barred-spiral galaxies; b) to examine the dynamical role played by each of the non-axisymmetric components of the potential, i.e. the bar and the spiral perturbation, and their consequences on the form of the invariant manifolds; and c) to examine the relation of “response” models of barred-spiral galaxies with the theory of the invariant manifolds. Our method relies on calculating the invariant manifolds for values of the Jacobi constant close to its value for L1 and L2. Our main results are the following. a) The invariant manifolds yield the correct form of the imposed spiral pattern provided that their calculation is done with the spiral potential term turned on. We provide a theoretical model explaining the form of the invariant manifolds that supports the spiral structure. The azimuthal displacement of the Lagrangian points with respect to the bar's major axis is a crucial parameter in this modeling. When this is taken into account, the manifolds necessarily develop in a spiral-like domain of the configuration space, delimited from below by the boundary of a banana-like non-permitted domain, and from above either by rotational KAM tori or by cantori forming a stickiness zone. On the contrary, if the whole non-axisymmetric perturbation is artificially “aligned” with the bar (i.e. there is no azimuthal shift of the Lagrangian manifolds), the manifolds support a ring rather than a spiral structure. b) We construct “spiral response” models on the basis of the theory of the invariant manifolds and examine the connection of the latter to the “response” models (Patsis 2006, MNRAS, 369, 56) used to fit real barred-spiral galaxies, explaining how the manifolds are related to a number of morphological features seen in such models.

Key words: chaos -- galaxies: kinematics and dynamics -- galaxies: spiral

© ESO 2009