Magnetic field amplification and X-ray emission in galaxy minor mergers




We investigate the magnetic field evolution in a series of galaxy minor mergers using the N-body/smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) code gadget. The simulations include the effects of radiative cooling, star formation and supernova feedback. Magnetohydrodynamics is implemented using the SPH method. We present 32 simulations of binary mergers of disc galaxies with mass ratios of 2:1 up to 100:1, whereby we have additionally varied the initial magnetic field strengths, disc orientations and resolutions. We investigate the amplification of a given initial magnetic field within the galaxies and an ambient intergalactic medium (IGM) during the interaction. We find that the magnetic field strengths of merger remnants with mass ratios up to 10:1 saturate at a common value of several μG. For higher mass ratios, the field strength saturates at lower values. The saturation values correspond to the equipartition value of magnetic and turbulent energy density. The initial magnetization, disc orientation and numerical resolution show only minor effects on the saturation value of the magnetic field. We demonstrate that a higher impact energy of the progenitor galaxies leads to a more efficient magnetic field amplification. The magnetic and turbulent energy densities are higher for larger companion galaxies, consistent with the higher impact energy supplied to the system. We present a detailed study of the evolution of the temperature and the bolometric X-ray luminosity within the merging systems. Thereby we find that magnetic fields cause a more efficient increase of the IGM temperature and the corresponding IGM X-ray luminosity after the first encounter. However, the presence of magnetic fields does not enhance the total X-ray luminosity. Generally, the final value of the X-ray luminosity is even clearly lower for higher initial magnetic fields.