Initial conditions for disc galaxies
journal contributionposted on 24.10.2012, 09:21 by P. J. McMillan, W. Dehnen
We present a general recipe for constructing N-body realizations of galaxies comprising near spherical and disc components. First, an exact spherical distribution function for the spheroids (halo and bulge) is determined, such that it is in equilibrium with the gravitational monopole of the disc components. Second, an N-body realization of this model is adapted to the full disc potential by growing the latter adiabatically from its monopole. Finally, the disc is sampled with particles drawn from an appropriate distribution function, avoiding local-Maxwellian approximations. We performed test simulations and find that the halo and bulge radial density profile very closely match their target model, while they become slightly oblate due to the added disc gravity. Our findings suggest that vertical thickening of the initially thin disc is caused predominantly by spiral and bar instabilities, which also result in a radial re-distribution of matter, rather than scattering off interloping massive halo particles.