On the equilibrium morphology of systems drawn from spherical collapse experiments
Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
We present a purely theoretical study of the morphological evolution of self-gravitating systems formed through the dissipationless collapse of N-point sources. We explore the effects of resolution in mass and length on the growth of triaxial structures formed by an instability triggered by an excess of radial orbits. We point out that as resolution increases, the equilibria shift, from mildly prolate, to oblate. A number of particles N ~= 100000 or larger is required for convergence of axial
... pect ratios. An upper bound for the softening, e ~ 1/256, is also identified. We then study the properties of a set of equilibria formed from scale-free cold initial mass distributions, ro ~ r^-g with 0 <= g <= 2. Oblateness is enhanced for initially more peaked structures (larger values of g). We map the run of density in space and find no evidence for a power-law inner structure when g <= 3/2 down to a mass fraction <~0.1 per cent of the total. However, when 3/2 < g <= 2, the mass profile in equilibrium is well matched by a power law of index ~g out to a mass fraction ~ 10 per cent. We interpret this in terms of less-effective violent relaxation for more peaked profiles when more phase mixing takes place at the centre. We map out the velocity field of the equilibria and note that at small radii the velocity coarse-grained distribution function (DF) is Maxwellian to a very good approximation.