Comparing major and minor merger hypotheses, where “Y” means consistency with the observations.
|Loop shape||Y?||Y?||Y||In minor merger, the loops trace the progenitor orbit, while in a|
|major merger, loops are formed by particles coming back from a tidal tail|
|Loop surface mass density||Y||Y||Y||Most models can reproduce the stellar mass surface density|
|Loop eccentricity||Y||N?||N||With an orbital eccentricity of 0.9–1, a merger with mass ratio >12:1|
|would need more than a Hubble time to reach fusion|
|Visibility of||Y||Y||N||Major mergers provide a thick disc component after complete fusion of the nuclei,|
|remnants||and low dynamic friction means the remnant nucleus should be seen in a minor merger|
|Gas warp||Y||Y||N||Major merger predicts a gas warp unlike a minor merger with high mass ratio|
|Gas & PAH emission||Y||Y ?||N||Major merger predicts residual gas and PAH emission above the disc, and|
|above the disc||this should be explained by another mechanism in a minor merger|
|Colours of loops||Y||Y||N?||For a minor merger the satellite should be a relatively massive, red dwarf elliptical|
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