Dynamics of the Formation of Tidal Structure in Interacting Galaxies as Determined by Newtonian Model Computer Simulations: Phase I

This 3-year, 2-phase research project is by far the largest and most complex I have completed. The project consisted of a study of the properties and effects of gravitational interaction both in real and modeled galaxy systems. In each of the two phases, I programmed an n-body gravitational simulator and used it to model galaxy interactions. I also reduced VLA spectral data on real galaxy systems and used it to construct dynamic, 3-dimensional models of the galaxies within the simulator.

Phase I of the effort, which lasted from 1998-1999, was essentially a preliminary investigation of the subject before the far more intense Phase II, with only a single galaxy system (NGC 4038-4039), a highly oversimplified model (Toomre point-masses), and a simpler simulator (written in BASIC). Nevertheless, it is a complete study of galaxy interaction and involves its own set of abstract, research report, and images. In fact, given the simplicity of the model Phase I was extraordinarily successful, reproducing a large number of tidal galactic features and generating a surprisingly accurate 3-D dynamic model of the NGC-4038/4039 system. However, please note that the corresponding elements in the Phase II section are more accurate and more detailed.

NGC-4038/4039, HI Observations vs. Computer Simulation (IGMS 2.2) N4038 (Hibbard)

(HI image courtesy J.Hibbard)

More information:


Research Report

         Additional Images

Intergalactic Gravitation Motion Simulator v2.2

Related links:
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Hibbard's Interacting Galaxies Page
Hibbard's NGC-4038/4039 Page
Dubinski's NGC-4038/4039 Simulation
Mihos and Hernquist's Colliding Galaxies Movies
Barnes' Galaxy Simulations Page

This research was conducted as part of my 11th grade high school science project, which was awarded second place at the Southwestern New Mexico Regional Science Fair in 1999.