The following visualizations and movies are free to use and available via the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license. In short, if you use these, please (1) acknowledge “A. Price-Whelan”, and (2) if you re-distribute any of this material, you must carry along this license. All of these visualizations were generated with Python code hosted in this GitHub repository.
This set of movies shows the tidal disruption of a star cluster as it orbits in a (very simple) model for our galaxy, the Milky Way. The stars that get pulled out of the star cluster form “leading” and “trailing” tails that make up a “stream” of stars. Streams are useful because they roughly delineate the past and future trajectory of an object (i.e. the progenitor star cluster). In the first movie, the green line shows the orbit of the star cluster around the galaxy (left panel), and the red and blue points represent stars that were once bound to the cluster but have now been pulled out by the tidal field of the Galaxy and now form a leading tail (red points) and trailing tail (blue points). the right panel shows the formation of the stream in a reference frame that rotates with the star cluster. The second movie shows the formation of the stream in a different set of phase-space coordinates: “action-angle” coordinates.
A gallery of binary star systems with different mass ratios (q) and different eccentricities (e), as labeled. The first video shows a view of the orbital plane of the system, and the second video shows the radial velocity signal from each star when viewed edge on and with all relevant angles in the Kepler problem set to 0 (e.g., argument of pericenter). These two videos are time-synced.