Chaotic motion and the evolution of morphological components in a time-dependent model of a barred galaxy within a dark matter halo

R. E.G. Machado, T. Manos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Studies of dynamical stability (chaotic versus regular motion) in galactic dynamics often rely on static analytical models of the total gravitational potential. Potentials based upon self-consistent N-body simulations offer more realistic models, fully incorporating the time-dependent nature of the systems. Here we aim at analysing the fractions of chaotic motion within different morphological components of the galaxy. We wish to investigate how the presence of chaotic orbits evolves with time, and how their spatial distribution is associated with morphological features of the galaxy. We employ a time-dependent analytical potential model that was derived from an N-body simulation of a strongly barred galaxy. With this analytical potential, we may follow the dynamical evolution of ensembles of orbits. Using the Generalized Alignment Index (GALI) chaos detection method, we study the fraction of chaotic orbits, sampling the dynamics of both the stellar disc and of the dark matter halo. Within the stellar disc, the global trend is for chaotic motion to decrease in time, specially in the region of the bar. We scrutinized the different changes of regime during the evolution (orbits that are permanently chaotic, permanently regular, those that begin regular and end chaotic, and those that begin chaotic and end regular), tracing the types of orbits back to their common origins. Within the dark matter halo, chaotic motion also decreases globally in time. The inner halo (r < 5 kpc) is where most chaotic orbits are found and it is the only region where chaotic orbits outnumber regular orbits, in the early evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3578-3591
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: Evolution
  • Galaxies: Haloes
  • Galaxies: Kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxies: Structure
  • Methods: Numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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