Scaling Laws in Self-Gravitating Discs
Authors: Huber D.; Pfenniger D.
Source: Astrophysics and Space Science, Volume 276, Numbers 2-4, 2001 , pp. 523-530(8)
The interstellar medium (ISM) reveals strongly inhomogeneous structures on every scale. These structures do not seem completely random since they obey certain power laws. Larson's (1981)) law R^&dgr; and the plausible assumption of virial equilibrium justify the consideration of fractals as a possible description of the ISM. In the following we investigate how self-gravitation, differential rotation and dissipation affect the matter distribution in galaxies. To this end we have performed 3D simulations for self-gravitating local boxes embedded in a larger disc, extending the 2D method of Toomre and Kalnajs (1991) and Wisdom and Tremaine (1988). Our simulations lead to the conclusion that gravitation, shearing and dissipation can be dominantly responsible for maintaining an inhomogeneous and eventually a fractal distribution of the matter.
Document Type: Regular paper
Publication date: 2001-01-01