Galaxy Crash
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Merger Dynamics

Now we will look at how the timescale for merging depends on the parameters of the encounter. First, make sure the "friction" box is checked so that dynamical friction is operating. Then:

  • Set companion mass to one, pericenter distance to 10 kpc, and inclination of both disks to 0. Run the simulation and write down how long it takes the galaxies to merge.
  • Now change the companion mass, and write down how long it takes the galaxies to merge, for several different companion masses. How and why does the merging time depend on mass of the galaxies?
  • Reset companion mass to one, and change the pericenter distance. How and why does the merging time depend on the pericenter distance?