Journal Article

The effectiveness of the Kozai mechanism in the Galactic Centre

Philip Chang

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 393, issue 1, pages 224-228
Published in print February 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.14202.x
The effectiveness of the Kozai mechanism in the Galactic Centre

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I examine the effectiveness of Kozai oscillations in the centres of galaxies and in particular the Galactic Centre (GC) using standard techniques from celestial mechanics. In particular, I study the effects of a stellar bulge potential and general relativity on Kozai oscillations, which are induced by stellar discs. Löckmann et al. recently suggested that Kozai oscillations induced by the two young massive stellar discs in the GC drive the orbits of the young stars to large eccentricity (e≈ 1). If some of these young eccentric stars are in binaries, they would be disrupted near pericentre, leaving one star in a tight orbit around the central supermassive black hole and producing the S-star population. I find that the spherical stellar bulge suppresses Kozai oscillations, when its enclosed mass inside a test body is of the order of the mass in the stellar disc(s). Since the stellar bulge in the GC is much larger than the stellar discs, Kozai oscillations due to the stellar discs are likely suppressed. Whether Kozai oscillations are induced from other non-spherical components to the potential (e.g. a flattened stellar bulge) is yet to be determined.

Keywords: celestial mechanics; Galaxy: centre

Journal Article.  4138 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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