Editors' ChoiceBarred Galaxies

Stellar bars knock holes in galaxy discs

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Science  28 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6311, pp. 430-431
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6311.430-g

The barred spiral galaxy NGC 1073


About half of all spiral galaxies have a bar structure in their central region, but how these morphological features evolve over time remains uncertain. Kim et al. studied the distribution of infrared light in more than a hundred barred galaxies, using decomposition to separate the bar from other galaxy components. They quantify a deficit in surface brightness that appears around strong bars and investigate how it varies with other galaxy properties. They conclude that as the bar evolves, stars that were on near-circular disc orbits are perturbed onto the highly eccentric orbits that form the bar, causing the deficit.

Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 462, 3430 (2016)

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