EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 501, Number 3, July III 2009
Page(s) L9 - L13
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912354
Published online 22 June 2009
A&A 501, L9-L13 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200912354


Generation of rotationally dominated galaxies by mergers of pressure-supported progenitors

P. Di Matteo1, C. J. Jog2, M. D. Lehnert1, F. Combes3, and B. Semelin3

1  Observatoire de Paris, section de Meudon, GEPI, 5 Place Jules Jannsen, 92195 Meudon, France
    e-mail: paola.dimatteo@obspm.fr
2  Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India
3  Observatoire de Paris, LERMA, 61 Avenue de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France

Received 20 April 2009 / Accepted 28 May 2009

Through the analysis of a set of numerical simulations of major mergers between initially non-rotating, pressure-supported progenitor galaxies with a range of central mass concentrations, we have shown that: (1) it is possible to generate elliptical-like galaxies, with $v/\sigma > 1$ outside one effective radius, as a result of the conversion of orbital- into internal-angular momentum; (2) the outer regions acquire part of the angular momentum first; (3) both the baryonic and the dark matter components of the remnant galaxy acquire part of the angular momentum, the relative fractions depending on the initial concentration of the merging galaxies. For this conversion to occur the initial baryonic component must be sufficiently dense and/or the encounter should take place on an orbit with high angular momentum. Systems with these hybrid properties have recently been observed through a combination of stellar absorption lines and planetary nebulae for kinematic studies of early-type galaxies. Our results are in qualitative agreement with these observations and demonstrate that even mergers composed of non rotating, pressure-supported progenitor galaxies can produce early-type galaxies with significant rotation at large radii.

Key words: galaxies: interactions -- galaxies: formation -- galaxies: evolution -- galaxies: structure -- methods: N-body simulations -- galaxies: kinematics and dynamics

© ESO 2009