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Title page for ETD etd-07102015-211630

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Lang, Meagan Marie
Author's Email Address langmm.astro@gmail.com
URN etd-07102015-211630
Title The Role of Flyby Interactions in Shaping Galaxy Evolution
Degree PhD
Department Physics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kelly Holley-Bockelmann Committee Chair
Andreas Berlind Committee Member
David Weintraub Committee Member
Kirill Bolotin Committee Member
  • N-body simulation
  • galaxy interactions
  • simulation analysis techniques
Date of Defense 2015-05-14
Availability unrestricted
Galaxy interactions play a critical role in the growth and evolution of galaxies. While galaxy mergers are known to transform galaxies morphologically and kinematically in a myriad of ways, not all interactions lead to a merger. Flybys, for example, are interactions where the galaxies’ dark matter halos interpenetrate, but later disconnect. Despite evidence that flybys could be as common as mergers for some halos (Sinha & Holley-Bockelmann 2012), little is known about how flybys affect galaxies. Using high resolution N-body simulations, this thesis presents findings that flybys are capable of triggering bars that can survive long after the interaction is complete. Given that bars drive galaxy evolution, flybys are likely an important component of galaxy evolution that has largely been discounted. In addition to exploring the impact of flybys, this thesis also includes two projects which support the larger goal to further our understanding of galaxy interactions as a whole. The first explores the plausibility of a single minor merger in the Milky Way’s recent past as an explanation for observed phenomena surrounding the Galactic Center. The second presents TesseRACt, a non-parametric technique for measuring the concentration of simulated dark matter halos.

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