Secular Evolution of Spiral Galaxies
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC REMOTE SENSING DIV
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It is now a well established fact that galaxies undergo significant morphological transformation during their lifetimes, manifesting as an evolution along the Hubble sequence from the late to the early Hubble types. The physical processes commonly believed to be responsible for this observed evolution trend, i.e. the major and minor mergers, as well as gas accretion under a barred potential, though demonstrated applicability to selected types of galaxies, on the whole have failed to reproduce the most important statical and internal properties of galaxies. The secular evolution mechanism reviewed in this paper has the potential to overcome most of the known difficulties of the existing theories to provide a natural and coherent explanation of the properties of present day as well as high-redshift galaxies.