Weak Homology of Bright Elliptical Galaxies
Studies of the Fundamental Plane of early-type galaxies, from small to intermediate redshifts, are often carried out under the guiding principle that the Fundamental Plane reflects the existence of an underlying mass-luminosity relation for such galaxies, in a scenario where elliptical galaxies are homologous systems in dynamical equilibrium. Here I will re-examine the issue of whether empirical evidence supports the view that significant systematic deviations from strict homology occur in the structure and dynamics of bright elliptical galaxies. In addition, I will discuss possible mechanisms of dynamical evolution for these systems, in the light of some classical thermodynamical arguments and of recent N-body simulations for stellar systems under the influence of weak collisionality.
KeywordsGlobular Cluster Elliptical Galaxy Stellar System Equilibrium Sequence Pressure Anisotropy
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