The specific angular momentum of disc galaxies and its connection with galaxy morphology, bar structure, and disc gravitational instability
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2023
The specific angular momenta (j equivalent to J/M) of stars (j(star)), gas (j(gas)), baryons as a whole (j(b)) and dark matter haloes (j(h)) contain clues of vital importance about how galaxies form and evolve. Using one of the largest samples of disc galaxies (S0-BCD) with high-quality rotation curves and near-infrared surface photometry, we perform a detailed comparative analysis of j that stretches across a variety of galaxy properties. Our analysis imposes tight constraints on the 'retained' fractions of specific angular momentum (j(star)/j(h), j(Hi)/j(h), and j(b)/j(h)), as well as on their systematic trends with mass fraction and galaxy morphology, thus on how well specific angular momentum is conserved in the process of disc galaxy formation and evolution. In particular, one of the most innovative results of our analysis is the finding that galaxies with larger baryon fractions have also retained larger fractions of their specific angular momentum. Furthermore, our analysis demonstrates how challenging it is to characterize barred galaxies from a gravitational instability point of view. This is true not only for the popular Efstathiou, Lake & Negroponte bar instability criterion, which fails to separate barred from non-barred galaxies in about 55 percent of the cases, but also for the mass-weighted Toomre parameter of atomic gas, < Q(HI)>, which succeeds in separating barred from non-barred galaxies, but only in a statistical sense.
galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
galaxies: fundamental parameters
galaxies: stellar content