We have constructed fully self-consistent models of triaxial galaxies with central density cusps. The triaxial generalizations of Dehnen's spherical models are presented, which have densities that vary as 1/r^gamma near the center and 1/r^4 at large radii. We computed libraries of about 7000 orbits in each of two triaxial models with gamma=1 (weak cusp) and gamma=2 (strong cusp); these two models have density profiles similar to those of the core and power-law galaxies observed by HST. Both mass models have short-to-long axis ratios of 1:2 and are maximally triaxial. A large fraction of the orbits in both model potentials are stochastic, as evidenced by their non-zero Liapunov exponents. We show that most of the stochastic orbits in the strong- cusp potential diffuse relatively quickly through their allowed phase-space volumes, on time scales of 100 - 1000 dynamical times. Stochastic orbits in the weak-cusp potential diffuse more slowly, often retaining their box-like shapes for 1000 dynamical times or longer. Attempts to construct self- consistent solutions using just the regular orbits failed for both mass models. Quasi-equilibrium solutions that include the stochastic orbits exist for both models; however, real galaxies constructed in this way would evolve near the center due to the continued mixing of the stochastic orbits. We attempted to construct more nearly stationary models in which stochastic phase space was uniformly populated at low energies. These ``fully mixed'' solutions were found to exist only for the weak-cusp potential. No significant fraction of the mass could be placed on fully-mixed stochastic orbits in the strong-cusp model, demonstrating that strong triaxiality can be inconsistent with a high central density. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).

Publication Date



Also archived in: arXiv:astro-ph/9511021 v1 3 Nov 1995 AND Rutgers Astrophysics Preprint Series No. 160 This work was supported by NSF grant AST 90-16515 and by NASA grant NAG 5-2803 to DM.ISSN:1538-4357 Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)


RIT – Main Campus