Chaos and the shapes of elliptical galaxies

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Title: Chaos and the shapes of elliptical galaxies
Author: Merritt, David
Abstract: Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations reveal that the density of stars in most elliptical galaxies rises toward the center in a power-law cusp. Many of these galaxies also contain central dark objects, possibly supermassive black holes. The gravitational force from a steep cusp or black hole will destroy most of the box orbits that constitute the “backbone” of a triaxial stellar system. Detailed modelling demonstrates that the resulting chaos can preclude a self-consistent, strongly triaxial equilibrium. Most elliptical galaxies may therefore be nearly axisymmetric, either oblate or prolate.
Description: Also archived in: arXiv: astro-ph/9601091 v1 17 Jan 1996 AND Rutgers Astrophysics Preprint Series No. 186
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Date: 1996-01-19

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