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Title: TEMPORAL SELF-ORGANIZATION IN GALAXY FORMATION

We report on the discovery of a relation between the number of star formation (SF) peaks per unit time, ν{sub peak}, and the size of the temporal smoothing window function, Δt, used to define the peaks: ν{sub peak}∝Δt {sup 1} {sup –} {sup φ} (φ ∼ 1.618). This relation holds over the range of Δt = 10-1000 Myr that can be reliably computed here, using a large sample of galaxies obtained from a state-of-the-art cosmological hydrodynamic simulation. This means that the temporal distribution of SF peaks in galaxies as a population is fractal with a Hausdorff fractal dimension equal to φ – 1. This finding reveals, for the first time, that the superficially chaotic process of galaxy formation is underlined by temporal self-organization up to at least one gigayear. It is tempting to suggest that, given the known existence of spatial fractals (such as the power-law two-point function of galaxies), there is a joint spatio-temporal self-organization in galaxy formation. From an observational perspective, it will be urgent to devise diagnostics to probe the SF histories of galaxies with good temporal resolution to facilitate a test of this prediction. If confirmed, it would provide unambiguous evidence for a new picture of galaxymore » formation that is interaction driven, cooperative, and coherent in and between time and space. Unravelling its origin may hold the key to understanding galaxy formation.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Princeton University Observatory, Princeton, NJ 08544 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365902
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 785; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CHAOS THEORY; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; COOPERATIVES; FRACTALS; GALAXIES; HYDRODYNAMICS; PROBES; RESOLUTION; SPACE; STAR EVOLUTION; STARS; UNIVERSE