Sufficiently elongated remnants produced from mergers of spiral galaxies are subject to a violent "firehose" instability that rapidly drives the remnant toward a new, less elongated equilibrium, possessing a variety of morphological peculiarities. This mechanism can account for the apparent dearth of highly flattened ellipticals, may be responsible for some features observed in early-type galaxies, including boxy isophotes and X-structures, and removes a potential objection to the merger hypothesis for the origin of early-type galaxies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- Galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
- Galaxies: formation
- Galaxies: interactions
- Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics