Today we’ll be discussing a paper that leverages some of these early ALMA observations as well as observations at the VLT in Chile to investigate the dynamical state of molecular gas in the ‘overlap’ region of the Antennae Galaxies.
It is written in The Standard Lore of Astronomy – a leather-bound book professors keep under their desks – that stars in the disks of spiral galaxies have a bimodal distribution of scale heights. Today we will be discussing a paper that comes to the conclusion that the notion of a thick disk and a thin disk is actually a poor approximation to the true distribution of disk stars.
For today’s astrobite, we will be discussing some of the highest-resolution simulations of isolated galaxies performed to date. Not only are these simulations high resolution, but they also include prescriptions to model several physical effects that previous galaxy evolution simulations have mostly ignored.
Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) is one of the most commonly used techniques for simulating astrophysical fluids. This particular paper focuses on a regime of gas dynamics that is often neglected in astronomy: subsonic turbulence. Just as the air in the upper atmosphere exhibits random motions that can buffet an airplane cabin, the gas in interstellar space also exhibits random, turbulent motions.