Interplay between chaotic and regular motion in a time-dependent barred galaxy model

T. Manos, T. Bountis, Ch Skokos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


We study the distinction and quantification of chaotic and regular motion in a time-dependent Hamiltonian barred galaxy model. Recently, a strong correlation was found between the strength of the bar and the presence of chaotic motion in this system, as models with relatively strong bars were shown to exhibit stronger chaotic behavior compared to those having a weaker bar component. Here, we attempt to further explore this connection by studying the interplay between chaotic and regular behavior of star orbits when the parameters of the model evolve in time. This happens for example when one introduces linear time dependence in the mass parameters of the model to mimic, in some general sense, the effect of self-consistent interactions of the actual N-body problem. We thus observe, in this simple time-dependent model also, that the increase of the bar's mass leads to an increase of the system's chaoticity. We propose a new way of using the generalized alignment index (GALI) method as a reliable criterion to estimate the relative fraction of chaotic versus regular orbits in such time-dependent potentials, which proves to be much more efficient than the computation of Lyapunov exponents. In particular, GALI is able to capture subtle changes in the nature of an orbit (or ensemble of orbits) even for relatively small time intervals, which makes it ideal for detecting dynamical transitions in time-dependent systems. This article is part of a special issue of Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical devoted to 'Lyapunov analysis: from dynamical systems theory to applications'.

Original languageEnglish
Article number254017
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - Jun 28 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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