Merging and Galaxy Assembly

Joshua E. Barnes

Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai`i,
2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, Hawai`i 96822

An invited review presented at After the Dark Ages: When Galaxies Were Young, 9th Annnual October Astrophysics Conference, University of Maryland, October 12-14, 1998.


Theoretical considerations and observational data support the idea that mergers were more frequent in the past. At redshifts z = 2 to 5, violent interactions and mergers may be implicated by observations of Lyman-break galaxies, sub-mm starbursts, and active galactic nuclei. Most stars in cluster ellipticals probably formed at such redshifts, as did most of the halo and globular clusters of the Milky Way; these events may all be connected with mergers. But what kind of galaxies merged at high redshifts, and are present-epoch mergers useful guides to these early collisions? I will approach these questions by describing ideas for the formation of the Milky Way, elliptical galaxies, and systems of globular clusters.


A gzipped postscript copy of this paper is available. The text will be published in After the Dark Ages: When Galaxies Were Young, eds. S.S. Holt & E.P. Smith (American Institute of Physics).

Joshua E. Barnes (

Last modified: November 16, 1998