We propose a functional that is extremized through violent relaxation. It is based on the Ansatz that the wave-particle scattering during violent dynamical processes can be approximated as a sequence of discrete scattering events that occur near a particle's perigalacticon. This functional has an extremum whose structure closely resembles that of spheroidal stellar systems such as elliptical galaxies. The results described here, therefore, provide a simple framework for understanding the physical nature of violent relaxation and support the view that galaxies are structured in accord with fundamental statistical principles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- Galaxies: formation
- Galaxies: interactions