Infoscience

Journal article

Gravitational tides and dwarf spheroidal galaxies

The effect of the local environment on the evolution of dwarf spheroidal galaxies is poorly understood. We have undertaken a suite of simulations to investigate the tidal impact of the Milky Way on the chemodynamical evolution of dwarf spheroidals that resemble present day classical dwarfs using the SPH code GEAR. After simulating the models through a large parameter space of potential orbits, the resulting properties are compared with observations from a dynamical point of view, and from the, often neglected, chemical point of view. In general, we find that tidal effects quench the star formation even inside gas-endowed dwarfs. This quenching may produce the radial distribution of dwarf spheroidals from the orbits seen within large cosmological simulations. We also find that the metallicity gradient within a dwarf is gradually erased through tidal interactions as stellar orbits move to higher radii. The model dwarfs also shift to higher <[Fe/H]>/L ratios, but only when they lose greater than or similar to 20% of stellar mass.

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