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Probing the Structure and Assembly of Nearby Field Spirals

  • Timothy Weinzirl
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Part of the Springer Theses book series (Springer Theses)

Abstract

We use the bulge Sérsic index n and bulge-to-total ratio (BT) to explore the fundamental question of how bulges form. We perform 2D bulge-disk-bar decomposition on H-band images of 143 bright, high mass (\(M_{\star } \geq 1.0 \times 10^{10}M_{\odot }\)) low-to-moderately inclined (i < 70) spirals. Our results are: (1) Our H-band bar fraction ( ∼ 58%) is consistent with that from ellipse fits. (2) 70 % of the stellar mass is in disks, 10% in bars, and 20% in bulges. (3) A large fraction ( ∼69%) of bright spirals have B∕T ≤ 0.2, and ∼76% have low n ≤ 2 bulges. These bulges exist in barred and unbarred galaxies across a wide range of Hubble types. (4) About 65% (68%) of bright spirals with n ≤ 2 (BT ≤ 0. 2) bulges host bars, suggesting a possible link between bars and bulges. (5) We compare the results with predictions from a set of ΛCDM models. In the models, a high mass spiral can have a bulge with a present-day low BT ≤ 0.2 only if it did not undergo a major merger since z ≤ 2. The predicted fraction ( ∼ 1.6%) of high mass spirals, which have undergone a major merger since z ≤ 4 and host a bulge with a present-day low BT ≤ 0. 2, is a factor of over thirty smaller than the observed fraction ( ∼ 66 %) of high mass spirals with BT ≤ 0. 2. Thus, contrary to common perception, bulges built via major mergers since z ≤ 4 seriously fail to account for the bulges present in ∼66 % of high mass spirals. Most of these present-day low BT ≤ 0. 2 bulges are likely to have been built by a combination of minor mergers and/or secular processes since z ≤ 4.

Keywords

Major Mergers Minor Mergers Unbarred Galaxies Hubble Type Stellar Mass 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy Weinzirl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AstronomyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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