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Schulze, Felix; Remus, Rhea-Silvia; Dolag, Klaus (2017): On the Kinematics, Stability and Lifetime of Kinematically Distinct Cores: A Case Study. In: Galaxies, Vol. 5, No. 3, 41


We present a case study of a early-type galaxy (ETG) hosting a kinematically distinct core (KDC) formed in a binary high resolution 1: 1 spiral galaxy merger simulation. The runtime of the simulation is pushed up to 10 Gyr to follow the complete evolution of various physical properties. To investigate the origin of the KDC, the stellar component residing within the KDC is dissected, revealing that the rotational signal is purely generated by stars that belong to the KDC for at least 0.5 Gyr and are newly formed during the merging process. Following the orientation of the total stellar angular momentum of the KDC, we show that it performs a motion comparable to the precession of a gyroscope in a gravitational potential. We draw the conclusion that the motion of the KDC is a superposition of an intrinsic rotation and a global precession that gets gradually damped over cosmic time. Finally, the stability of the KDC over the complete runtime of the simulation is investigated by tracing the evolution of the widely used lambda(R) parameter and the misalignment angle distribution. We find that the KDC is stable for about 3 Gyr after the merger and subsequently disperses completely on a timescale of approximate to 1.5 Gyr.