Context: Resonances in the stellar orbital motion under perturbations from spiral arms structure play an important role in the evolution of the disks of spiral galaxies. The epicyclic approximation allows the determination of the corresponding resonant radii on the equatorial plane (for nearly circular orbits), but is not suitable in general.
Aims: To expand the study of resonant orbits by analysing stellar motions perturbed by spiral arms with Gaussian-shaped profiles, without any restriction on the stellar orbital configurations, and expand the concept of Lindblad (epicyclic) resonances for orbits with large radial excursions.
Methods: We define a representative plane of initial conditions, which covers the whole phase space of the system. Dynamical maps on representative planes are constructed numerically, in order to characterize the phase-space structure and identify the precise location of the resonances. The study is complemented by the construction of dynamical power spectra, which provide the identification of fundamental oscillatory patterns in the stellar motion.
Results: Our approach allows a precise description of the resonance chains in the whole phase space, giving a broader view of the dynamics of the system when compared to the classical epicyclic approach, even for objects in retrograde motion. The analysis of the solar neighbourhood shows that, depending on the current azimuthal phase of the Sun with respect to the spiral arms, a star with solar kinematic parameters may evolve either inside the stable co-rotation resonance or in a chaotic zone.
Conclusions: Our approach contributes in quantifying the domains of resonant orbits and the degree of chaos in the whole Galactic phase-space structure. It may serve as a starting point to apply these techniques to the investigation of clumps in the distribution of stars in the Galaxy, such as kinematic moving groups.
T. Michtchenko, R. Vieira, D. Barros, et. al.
Thu, 1 Sep 16
Comments: 17 pages, 14 figures. Submitted to A&A