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Astron. Astrophys. 345, 81-92 (1999)

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Starbursts in barred spiral galaxies

V. Morphological analysis of bars *

S. Chapelon 1,2, T. Contini 1,3 and E. Davoust 1

1 Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, UMR 5572, 14 Avenue E. Belin, F-31400 Toulouse, France
2 Laboratoire d'Astronomie Spatiale du CNRS, B.P. 8, F-13376 Marseille Cedex 12, France
3 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, D-85748 Garching bei München, Germany

Received 7 October 1998 / Accepted 9 February 1999


We have measured the bar lengths and widths of 125 barred galaxies observed with CCDs. The dependence of bar strength (identified with bar axis ratio) on morphological type, nuclear activity, central and mid-bar surface brightness is investigated.

The properties of the bars are best explained if the sample is divided into early- ([FORMULA] SBbc) and late-type galaxies, and into active (starburst, Seyfert or LINER) and normal galaxies. We find that galaxies with very long bars are mostly active and that normal late-type galaxies have a distinct behavior from the three other groups of galaxies. We confirm earlier findings that active late-type galaxies tend to have both stronger and longer bars than normal ones. An important result of this paper is that early-type galaxies do not share this behavior: they all tend to have strong bars, whether they are active or not. We also find correlations between bar strength and relative surface brightness in the middle and at the edge of the bar, which are not followed by normal late-type galaxies.

These results are interpreted in the light of recent numerical simulations and paradigms about galaxy evolution. They suggest that normal late-type galaxies represent the first stage of galaxy evolution, and that bars in early- and late-type galaxies do not have the same properties because they have a different origin.

Key words: galaxies: photometry – galaxies: spiral – galaxies: starburst – galaxies: structure

* Based on observations obtained at the 2 meter telescope of Observatoire du Pic du Midi, operated by INSU (CNRS)

Send offprint requests to: E. Davoust (davoust@obs-mip.fr)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: April 12, 1999