Astrophys. J., 550, 243-252 (2001/March-3)
A dust-penetrated classification scheme for bars as inferred from their gravitational force fields.
BUTA R. and BLOCK D.L.
Abstract (from CDS):
The division of galaxies into ``barred'' (SB) and ``normal'' (S) spirals is a fundamental aspect of the Hubble galaxy classification system. This ``tuning fork'' view was revised by de Vaucouleurs, whose classification volume recognized apparent ``bar strength'' (SA, SAB, SB) as a continuous property of galaxies called the ``family.'' However, the SA, SAB, and SB families are purely visual judgments that can have little bearing on the actual bar strength in a given galaxy. Until very recently, published bar judgments were based exclusively on blue light images, where internal extinction or star formation can either mask a bar completely or give the false impression of a bar in a nonbarred galaxy. Near-infrared camera arrays, which principally trace the old stellar population in both normal and barred galaxies, now facilitate a quantification of bar strength in terms of their gravitational potentials and force fields. In this paper, we show that the maximum value, Qb
, of the ratio of the tangential force to the mean axisymmetric radial force in a barred disk galaxy is a quantitative measure of the strength of a bar. Qb
does not measure bar ellipticity or bar shape but rather depends on the actual forcing due to the bar embedded in its disk. We show that a wide range of true bar strengths characterizes the category ``SB'', while the de Vaucouleurs category ``SAB'' corresponds to a narrower range of bar strengths. We present Qb
values for 36 galaxies, and we incorporate our bar classes into a dust-penetrated classification system for spiral galaxies.
Galaxies: Kinematics and Dynamics - Galaxies: Spiral - Galaxies: Structure
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