Modelling resonances and orbital chaos in disk galaxies
Application to a Milky Way spiral model
Instituto de Astronomia, Geofísica e Ciências Atmosféricas, USP, Rua do Matão 1226, 05508-090 São Paulo, Brazil
Received: 10 May 2016
Accepted: 1 September 2016
Context. Resonances in the stellar orbital motion under perturbations from the spiral arm structure can play an important role in the evolution of the disks of spiral galaxies. The epicyclic approximation allows the determination of the corresponding resonant radii on the equatorial plane (in the context of nearly circular orbits), but is not suitable in general.
Aims. We expand the study of resonant orbits by analysing stellar motions perturbed by spiral arms with Gaussian-shaped groove profiles without any restriction on the stellar orbital configurations, and we expand the concept of Lindblad (epicyclic) resonances for orbits with large radial excursions.
Methods. We define a representative plane of initial conditions, which covers the whole phase space of the system. Dynamical maps on representative planes of initial conditions are constructed numerically in order to characterize the phase-space structure and identify the precise location of the co-rotation and Lindblad resonances. The study is complemented by the construction of dynamical power spectra, which provide the identification of fundamental oscillatory patterns in the stellar motion.
Results. Our approach allows a precise description of the resonance chains in the whole phase space, giving a broader view of the dynamics of the system when compared to the classical epicyclic approach. We generalize the concept of Lindblad resonances and extend it to cases of resonant orbits with large radial excursions, even for objects in retrograde motion. The analysis of the solar neighbourhood shows that, depending on the current azimuthal phase of the Sun with respect to the spiral arms, a star with solar kinematic parameters (SSP) may evolve in dynamically distinct regions, either inside the stable co-rotation resonance or in a chaotic zone.
Conclusions. Our approach contributes to quantifying the domains of resonant orbits and the degree of chaos in the whole Galactic phase-space structure. It may serve as a starting point to apply these techniques to the investigation of clumps in the distribution of stars in the Galaxy, such as kinematic moving groups.
Key words: galaxies: spiral / Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics
© ESO, 2016