Entropy production in collisionless systems. I. Large phase-space occupation numbers

Eric I. Barnes, Liliya L.R. Williams

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Certain thermal non-equilibrium situations, outside of the astrophysical realm, suggest that entropy production extrema, instead of entropy extrema, are related to stationary states. In an effort to better understand the evolution of collisionless self-gravitating systems, we investigate the role of entropy production and develop expressions for the entropy production rate in two particular statistical families that describe self-gravitating systems. From these entropy production descriptions, we derive the requirements for extremizing the entropy production rate in terms of specific forms for the relaxation function in the Boltzmann equation. We discuss some implications of these relaxation functions and point to future work that will further test this novel thermodynamic viewpoint of collisionless relaxation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2011


  • Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxies: structure


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