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Quantifying the (X/Peanut)-Shaped Structure in Edge-on Disc Galaxies : Length, Strength, and Nested Peanuts

Bogdan Ciambur

Évènements associés

  • Le lundi 7 mars 2016 de 11:00 à 12:00

X-shaped or peanut-shaped (X/P) bulges are observed in more than 40% of (nearly) edge-on disc galaxies, though to date a robust method to quantify them is lacking. Using Fourier harmonics to describe the deviation of galaxy isophotes from ellipses, I will show with a sample of 11 such galaxies (including NGC 128) that the sixth Fourier component (B6 ) carries physical meaning by tracing this X/P structure. I will introduce 5 quantitative diagnostics based on the radial B6 profile, namely : its `peak’ amplitude ; the (projected major-axis) `length’ where this peak occurs ; its vertical `height’ above the disc plane ; a measure of the B6 profile’s integrated `strength’ ; and the B6 peak `width’. Furthermore, I will discuss how, with this method, we convincingly detect and measure the properties of multiple (nested) X/P structures in individual galaxies which additionally display the signatures of multiple bars in their surface brightness proles, thus consolidating further the scenario in which peanuts are associated with bars. This analysis reveals that the peanut parameter space (`length’, `strength’ and `height’) for real galaxies is not randomly populated, but the 3 metrics are inter-correlated (both in kpc and units of disc scale-length h). Additionally, the X/P `length’ and `strength’ appear to correlate with (v/σ), lending further support to the notion that peanuts `know’ about the galactic disc in which they reside. Such constraints are important for numerical simulations, as they provide a direct link between peanuts and their host disc. Our diagnostics reveal a spectrum of X/P properties and could provide a means of distinguishing between different peanut formation scenarios discussed in the literature. Moreover, nested peanuts, as remnants of bar buckling events, can provide insights into the disc and bar instability history.