Star formation history of barred disc galaxies
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Oxford University Press (OUP); Royal Astronomical Society
GalaxiesStellar contentSpiralEvolutionAbundancesKinematics and dynamics
Sánchez-Blázquez, P.; et al. Star formation history of barred disc galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 415(1): 709-731 (2011). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/28432]
We present the first results of a pilot study aimed at understanding the influence of bars on the evolution of galaxy discs through the study of their stellar content. We examine here the kinematics, star formation history, mass-weighted, luminosity-weighted, and single stellar population (SSP) equivalent ages and metallicities for four galaxies ranging from lenticulars to late-type spirals. The data employed extends to 2-3 disc scalelengths, with S/N(A)>50. Several techniques are explored to derive star formation histories and SSP-equivalent parameters, each of which are shown to be compatible. We demostrate that the age-metallicity degeneracy is highly reduced by using spectral fitting techniques --instead of indices-- to derive these parameters. We found that the majority of the stellar mass in our sample is composed of old (~10 Gyr) stars. This is true in the bulge and the disc region, even beyond two disc scalelengths. In the bulge region, we find that the young, dynamically cold, structures produced by the presence of the bar (e.g., nuclear discs or rings) are responsible for shaping the bulges' age and metallicity gradients. In the disc region, a larger fraction of young stars is present in the external parts of the disc compared with the inner disc. The disc growth is, therefore, compatible with a moderate inside-out formation scenario, where the luminosity weighted age changes from ~10 Gyrs in the centre, to ~4 Gyrs at two disc scalelengths, depending upon the galaxy. For two galaxies, we compare the metallicity and age gradients of the disc major axis with that of the bar, finding very important differences. In particular, the stellar population of the bar is more similar to the bulge than to the disc, indicating that, at least in those two galaxies, bars formed long ago and have survived to the present day.