Internally-driven warps in disc galaxies

Sellwood, J A and Debattista, Victor P orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7902-0116 (2022) Internally-driven warps in disc galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 510 (1). pp. 1375-1382. ISSN 0035-8711

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Abstract Any perturbation to a disc galaxy that creates a misalignment between the planes of the inner and outer disc, will excite a slowly evolving bending wave in the outer disc. The torque from the stiff inner disc drives a retrograde, leading-spiral bending wave that grows in amplitude as it propagates outward over a period of several Gyr. The part of the disc left behind by the outwardly propagating wave is brought into alignment with the inner disc. This behaviour creates warps that obey the rules established from observations, and operates no matter what the original cause of the misalignment between the inner and outer disc. Here we confirm that mild warps in simulations of disc galaxies can be excited by shot noise in the halo, as was recently reported. We show that the quadrupole component of the noise creates disc distortions most effectively. Bending waves caused by shot noise in carefully constructed equilibrium simulations of isolated galaxies are far too mild to be observable, but perturbations from halo substructure and galaxy assembly must excite larger amplitude bending waves in real galaxies.

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