Journal Article

Secular theory of the orbital evolution of the young stellar disc in the Galactic Centre

J. Haas, L. Šubr and D. Vokrouhlický

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 416, issue 2, pages 1023-1032
Published in print September 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19100.x
Secular theory of the orbital evolution of the young stellar disc in the Galactic Centre

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We investigate the orbital evolution of a system of N mutually interacting stars on initially circular orbits around the dominating central mass. We include the perturbative influence of a distant axisymmetric source and an extended spherical potential. In particular, we focus on the case when the secular evolution of orbital eccentricities is suppressed by the spherical perturbation. By means of standard perturbation methods, we derive semi-analytic formulae for the evolution of normal vectors of the individual orbits. We find its two qualitatively different modes. Either the orbits interact strongly and, under such circumstances, become dynamically coupled, precessing synchronously in the potential of the axisymmetric perturbation, or, if their mutual interaction is weaker, the orbits precess independently, interchanging periodically their angular momentum, which leads to oscillations of inclinations. We argue that these processes may have been fundamental to the evolution of the disc of young stars orbiting the supermassive black hole in the centre of the Milky Way.

Keywords: methods: analytical; celestial mechanics; stars: kinematics and dynamics; Galaxy: nucleus

Journal Article.  7133 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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