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Title: Dynamical friction in cuspy galaxies

In this paper, we treat the problem of the dynamical friction decay of a massive object moving in an elliptical galaxy with a cuspidal inner distribution of the mass density. We present results obtained by both self-consistent, direct summation, N-body simulations, as well as by a new semi-analytical treatment of dynamical friction valid in such cuspy central regions of galaxies. A comparison of these results indicates that the proposed semi-analytical approximation is the only reliable one in cuspy galactic central regions, where the standard Chandrasekhar's local approximation fails and also gives estimates of decay times that are correct at 1% with respect to those given by N-body simulations. The efficiency of dynamical friction in cuspy galaxies is found definitively higher than in core galaxies, especially on more radially elongated satellite orbits. As another relevant result, we find a proportionality of the dynamical friction decay time to the –0.67 power of the satellite mass, M, shallower than the standardly adopted M {sup –1} dependence.
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Department of Physics, Sapienza, Università di Roma, P.le A. Moro 5, I-00185 Roma (Italy)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22357163
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 785; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; APPROXIMATIONS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DECAY; DENSITY; DISTRIBUTION; EFFICIENCY; FRICTION; GALAXIES; MANY-BODY PROBLEM; MASS; ORBITS; SATELLITES; SIMULATION; STAR CLUSTERS; STARS