The formation of nuclear stellar discs in bar-induced gas inflows
Cole, David R.
Debattista, Victor P.
Earp, Samuel W.
- Publisher: Oxford University Press
F500 | Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
arxiv: Astrophysics::Galaxy Astrophysics | Astrophysics::Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics | Astrophysics::Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
The role of gas in the mass assembly at the nuclei of galaxies is still subject to some uncertainty. Stellar nuclear discs bridge the gap between the large-scale galaxy and the central massive objects that reside there. Using a high resolution simulation of a galaxy forming out of gas cooling and settling into a disc, we study the formation and properties of nuclear discs. Gas, driven to the centre by a bar, settles into a rotating star-forming nuclear disc (ND). This ND is thinner, younger, kinematically cooler, and more metal-rich than the surrounding bar. The ND is elliptical and orthogonal to the bar. The complex kinematics in the region of the ND are a result of the superposition of older stars streaming along the bar and younger stars circulating within the ND. The signature of the ND is therefore subtle in the kinematics. Instead the ND stands out clearly in metallicity and age maps. We compare the model to the density and kinematics of real galaxies with NDs finding qualitative similarities. Our results suggest that gas dissipation is very important for forming nuclear structures.