kinematically decoupled core (KDC)
maqze-ye jonbešikâné vâjafsaridé
Fr.: cœur cinématiquement découplé
A central, tightly bound stellar subsystem observed in some elliptical galaxies which rotates in the opposite direction with respect to the main body of the → elliptical galaxy. Elliptical galaxies are thought to be the result of the → merger of two or more sizable galaxies. A plausible scenario for how counter-rotating cores could form in such a merger is as follows. If at least one of the galaxies has a core region that is fairly tightly bound by the galaxy's gravity, and the direction in which the two galaxies orbit each other before merging is opposite to the direction of rotation of stars in that tightly bound core, it is likely that, after the merger, the tightly bound core will end up as the core of the new, larger galaxy, while retaining its original sense of rotation. The surrounding stars, on the other hand, will rotate in a different way dictated by the orbital motion of the galaxies around each other, before the merger. While this is a plausible scenario, it can only explain some of the counter-rotating cores. Recently A. Tsatsi et al. (2015, ApJ 802, L3) have shown that although the two → progenitor galaxies are initially following a → prograde orbit, strong reactive forces during the merger can cause a short-lived change of their orbital spin; the two progenitors follow a → retrograde orbit right before their final coalescence. This results in a central kinematic decoupling and the formation of a large-scale (~2 kpc radius) counter-rotating core at the center of the final elliptical-like merger remnant, while its outer parts keep the rotation direction of the initial orbital spin.