Recent work on the dynamics of triaxial stellar systems is reviewed. The motion of boxlike orbits in realistic triaxial potentials is generically stochastic. The degree to which the stochasticity manifests itself in the dynamics depends on the chaotic mixing timescale, which is a small multiple of the crossing time in triaxial models with steep cusps or massive central singularities. Low-luminosity ellipticals, which have the steepest cusps and the shortest dynamical times, are less likely than bright ellipticals to have strongly triaxial shapes. The observational evidence for triaxiality is reviewed; departures from axisymmetry in earlytype galaxies are often found to be associated with evidence of recent interactions or with the presence of a bar.
Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit
Department, Program, or Center
School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)
Merritt, David, "Dynamics of triaxial stellar systems" (1997). Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus