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Origin of Radially Increasing Stellar Scaleheight in a Galactic Disk

By Chaitra A Narayan and Chanda J Jog


For the past twenty years, it has been accepted that the vertical scaleheight of the stellar disk in spiral galaxies is constant with radius. However, there is no clear physical explanation for this in the literature. Here we calculate the vertical stellar scaleheight for a self-gravitating stellar disk including the additional gravitational force of the HI and H_2 gas and the dark matter halo. We apply our model to two edge-on galaxies, NGC 891 and NGC 4565, and find that the resulting scaleheight shows a linear increase of nearly a factor of two within the optical disk for both these galaxies. Interestingly, we show that the observed data when looked at closely, do not imply a constant scaleheight but actually support this moderate flaring in scaleheight

Topics: Physics
Year: 2002
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