Based upon a novel paradigm of galaxy formation under the influence of an ultraviolet background, the evolutionary bifurcation of pre-galactic clouds is compared with observations of elliptical and spiral galaxies. The theory predicts that the dichotomy between dissipational and dissipationless galaxy formation stems from the degree of self-shielding from the ultraviolet background radiation. This is demonstrated on a bifurcation diagram of collapse epochs versus masses of pre-galactic clouds. Using the observed properties, the collapse epochs and mass are assessed for each type of galaxy. By direct comparison of the theory with observations, it turns out that the theoretical bifurcation branch successfully discriminates between elliptical and spiral galaxies. This suggests that the ultraviolet background radiation could play a profound role in the differentiation of galactic morphology into the Hubble sequence.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- August 2000
- MOLECULAR PROCESSES;
- RADIATIVE TRANSFER;
- GALAXIES: FORMATION;
- Accepted for publication in MNRAS