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Paper: N-body simulations of interactions and mergings in small galaxy groups
Volume: 209, Small Galaxy Groups, IAU Colloquium 174
Page: 245
Authors: Athanassoula, E.
Abstract: In this paper I focus on three topics related to the dynamical evolution of small galaxy groups, for which the input of N-body simulations has been decisive. These are the merging rates in compact groups, the properties of remnants of multiple mergers, and the evolution of disc galaxies surrounded by one or more satellites. The short dynamical times of compact groups make it difficult to understand why such groups are observed at all. N-body simulations have pointed out two possible classes of solutions to this problem. The first one proposes that there is on-going formation of compact groups, or that the longevity of the group is due to secondary infall. For the second class of solutions the longevity of compact groups is due either to their specific initial conditions, or to a massive common halo, encompassing the whole group. I discuss here these alternatives, together with their respective advantages and disadvantages. I then turn to the structure of remnants of multiple mergers and compare the results of N-body simulations with the properties of observed elliptical galaxies. Finally I discuss the dynamical evolution of a disc galaxy surrounded by one or more spherical satellites.
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