Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 370, 753-772 (2006/August-1)
K-band observations of boxy bulges - I. Morphology and surface brightness profiles.
BUREAU M., ARONICA G., ATHANASSOULA E., DETTMAR R.-J., BOSMA A. and FREEMAN K.C.
Abstract (from CDS):
In this first paper of a series on the structure of boxy and peanut-shaped (B/PS) bulges, Kn-band observations of a sample of 30 edge-on spiral galaxies are described and discussed. Kn-band observations best trace the dominant luminous galactic mass and are minimally affected by dust. Images, unsharp-masked images, as well as major-axis and vertically summed surface brightness profiles are presented and discussed. Galaxies with a B/PS bulge tend to have a more complex morphology than galaxies with other bulge types, more often showing centred or off-centred X structures, secondary maxima along the major-axis and spiral-like structures. While probably not uniquely related to bars, those features are observed in three-dimensional N-body simulations of barred discs and may trace the main bar orbit families. The surface brightness profiles of galaxies with a B/PS bulge are also more complex, typically containing three or more clearly separated regions, including a shallow or flat intermediate region (Freeman Type II profiles). The breaks in the profiles offer evidence for bar-driven transfer of angular momentum and radial redistribution of material. The profiles further suggest a rapid variation of the scaleheight of the disc material, contrary to conventional wisdom but again as expected from the vertical resonances and instabilities present in barred discs. Interestingly, the steep inner region of the surface brightness profiles is often shorter than the isophotally thick part of the galaxies, itself always shorter than the flat intermediate region of the profiles. The steep inner region is also much more prominent along the major-axis than in the vertically summed profiles. Similarly to other recent work but contrary to the standard `bulge + disc' model (where the bulge is both thick and steep), we thus propose that galaxies with a B/PS bulge are composed of a thin concentrated disc (a disc-like bulge) contained within a partially thick bar (the B/PS bulge), itself contained within a thin outer disc. The inner disc likely formed secularly through bar-driven processes and is responsible for the steep inner region of the surface brightness profiles, traditionally associated with a classic bulge, while the bar is responsible for the flat intermediate region of the surface brightness profiles and the thick complex morphological structures observed. Those components are strongly coupled dynamically and are formed mostly of the same (disc) material, shaped by the weak but relentless action of the bar resonances. Any competing formation scenario for galaxies with a B/PS bulge, which represent at least 45 per cent of the local disc galaxy population, must explain equally well and self-consistently the above morphological and photometric properties, the complex gas and stellar kinematics observed, and the correlations between them.
2006 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2006 RAS
galaxies: bulges - galaxies: evolution - galaxies: formation - galaxies: photometry - galaxies: spiral - galaxies: structure
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