Secular evolution via bar-driven gas inflow: results from BIMA SONG.
SHETH K., VOGEL S.N., REGAN M.W., THORNLEY M.D. and TEUBEN P.J.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present an analysis of the molecular gas distributions in the 29 barred and 15 unbarred spirals in the BIMA CO (J=1-0) Survey of Nearby Galaxies (SONG). For galaxies that are bright in CO, we confirm the conclusion by Sakamoto et al. that barred spirals have higher molecular gas concentrations in the central kiloparsec. The SONG sample also includes 27 galaxies below the CO brightness limit used by Sakamoto et al. Even in these less CO-bright galaxies we show that high central gas concentrations are more common in barred galaxies, consistent with radial inflow driven by the bar. However, there is a significant population of early-type (Sa-Sbc) barred spirals (6 of 19) that have no molecular gas detected in the nuclear region and have very little out to the bar corotation radius. This suggests that in barred galaxies with gas-deficient nuclear regions, the bar has already driven most of the gas within the bar corotation radius to the nuclear region, where it has been consumed by star formation. The median mass of nuclear molecular gas is over 4 times higher in early-type bars than in late-type (Sc-Sdm) bars. Since previous work has shown that the gas consumption rate is an order of magnitude higher in early-type bars, this implies that the early types have significantly higher bar-driven inflows. The lower accretion rates in late-type bars can probably be attributed to the known differences in bar structure between early and late types. Despite the evidence for bar-driven inflows in both early and late Hubble-type spirals, the data indicate that it is highly unlikely for a late-type galaxy to evolve into an early type via bar-induced gas inflow. Nonetheless, secular evolutionary processes are undoubtedly present, and pseudobulges are inevitable; evidence for pseudobulges is likely to be clearest in early-type galaxies because of their high gas inflow rates and higher star formation activity.