Bending instabilities in galaxy merger remnants

Lars Hernquist, Jeremy S. Heyl, David N. Spergel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L9-L12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - Oct 10 1993

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


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