Gas Dynamics in Galaxy Mergers

Joshua E. Barnes

Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii,
2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822

An invited review presented at Gas & Galaxy Evolution,
Socorro, New Mexico, USA, 21-24 May 2000.


In interacting and merging galaxies, gas is subject to direct hydrodynamic effects as well as tidal forces. One consequence of interactions is the rapid inflows of gas which may fuel starbursts and AGN. But gas dynamics is not limited to inflows; a small survey of equal-mass and unequal-mass encounters produces a wide variety of features, including plumes between galaxies, extended disks formed by infall of tidal debris, and counterrotating nuclear disks. An even richer spectrum of behavior awaits better thermodynamic models for gas in merging galaxies.


A gzipped postscript copy of this paper is available with low resolution or high resolution figures. The text will appear in Gas & Galaxy Evolution, eds. J.E. Hibbard, M.P. Rupen, & J.H. van Gorkom (Astronomical Society of the Pacific). This paper is also available as astro-ph/0010144.

Joshua E. Barnes (

Last modified: October 6, 2000