Space-based observations are beginning to yield detailed information about the stellar kinematics at the very centers of galaxies, within the sphere of gravitational influence of the black hole. The structure and dynamics of these regions is probably determined in part by the infall and coalescence of black holes during galaxy mergers. A goal of N-body simulations is to reproduce the kinematics near the black holes as well as the relations that exist between the nuclear and global properties of galaxies. However, the problem is computationally difficult due to the wide range of length and time scales, and no single N-body code can efficiently follow the evolution from kiloparsec to sub-parsec scales. We review existing N-body work on this problem and present the first, fully self-consistent merger simulations of galaxies containing dense stellar cusps and black holes.
Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit
Department, Program, or Center
School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)
Merritt, David; Cruz, Fidel; and Milosavljevic, Milos, "Dynamics of black-hole nuclei" (2001). Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus