Journal Article

On the stability of tidal streams

Aurel Schneider and Ben Moore

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 415, issue 2, pages 1569-1576
Published in print August 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
On the stability of tidal streams

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We explore the stability of tidal streams to perturbations, motivated by recent claims that the clumpy structure of the stellar streams surrounding the globular cluster Palomar 5 are the result of gravitational instability. We calculate the Jeans length of tidal streams by treating them as a thin expanding cylinder of collisionless matter. We also find a general relation between the density and the velocity dispersion inside a stream, which is used to determine the longitudinal Jeans criterion. Our analytic results are checked by following the time evolution of the phase space density within streams using numerical simulations. We conclude that tidal streams within our Galactic halo are stable on all length scales and over all time-scales.

Keywords: methods: analytical; galaxies: kinematics and dynamics; galaxies: star clusters: general

Journal Article.  5578 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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