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Astron. Astrophys. 345, L47-L50 (1999)

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Letter to the Editor

Hidden bars and boxy bulges

Michael R. Merrifield 1 and Konrad Kuijken *  2

1 School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK
2 Kapteyn Institute, P.O. Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands

Received 11 March 1999 / Accepted 13 April 1999


It has been suggested that the boxy and peanut-shaped bulges found in some edge-on galaxies are galactic bars viewed from the side. We investigate this hypothesis by presenting emission-line spectra for a sample of 10 edge-on galaxies that display a variety of bulge morphologies. To avoid potential biases in the classification of this morphology, we use an objective measure of bulge shape. Generally, bulges classified as more boxy show the more complicated kinematics characteristic of edge-on bars, confirming the intimate relation between the two phenomena.

Key words: galaxies: kinematics and dynamics – galaxies: spiral – galaxies: structure

* Visiting Scientist, Dept Theoretical Physics, University of the Basque Country.

Send offprint requests to: Konrad Kuijken (kuijken@astro.rug.nl), Kapteyn Institute, P.O. Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands.

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: April 28, 1999