Models of cuspy triaxial galaxies

Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, J. Christopher Mihos, Steinn Sigurdsson, Lars Hernquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


We construct numerical models of mildly triaxial elliptical galaxies with central density cusps. Using a technique we call "adiabatic squeezing," we begin with a spherical γ = 1 Hernquist model and apply a drag to the velocities of the particles along each principal axis. The final models are stable in isolation, preserving their density structure and figure shape over many dynamical timescales. The density profile and axial ratios compare well to the observed properties of elliptical galaxies. The orbital structure of these models show a mixture of tubes, boxes, and boxlets, as expected for triaxial systems, with very few chaotic orbits. These N-body realizations of cuspy triaxial galaxies provide a basis for the study of dynamical evolution of elliptical galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-870
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 1
StatePublished - Mar 10 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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