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Resonance Related Spiral Substructure in a Galactic Gaseous Disk

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DOI: 10.1086/523930
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We use high resolution 2D hydrodynamic simulations to study the formation of spiral substructure in the gaseous disk of a galaxy. The obtained gaseous response is driven by a self-consistent non-axisymmetric potential obtained from an imposed spiral mass distribution. We highlight the importance of ultraharmonic resonances in generating these features. The temporal evolution of the system is followed with the parallel ZEUS-MP code, and we follow the steepening of perturbations induced by the spiral potential until large-scale shocks emerge. These shocks exhibit bifurcations that protrude from the gaseous arms and continue to steepen until new shocks are formed. When the contribution from the spiral potential relative to the axisymmetric background is increased from our default value, spurs protrude from the main arms after several revolutions of the gaseous disk. Such spurs overlap on top of the aforementioned shocks. These results support the hypothesis that a complicated gaseous response can coexist with an orderly spiral potential term, in the sense that the underlying background potential can be smooth yet drive a gaseous response that is far more spatially complex.

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