Invited review to be published in "Chaos in Astronomy", G. Contopoulos, P.A. Patsis (eds.)
arXiv:0802.0495

For a PDF version of the article, click here.

BARRED GALAXIES: AN OBSERVER'S PERSPECTIVE

Dimitri A. Gadotti


Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, D-85741 Garching bei München, Germany
dimitri@mpa-garching.mpg.de


Abstract. I review both well established and more recent findings on the properties of bars, and their host galaxies, stemming from photometric and spectroscopic observations, and discuss how these findings can be understood in terms of a global picture of the formation and evolution of bars, keeping a connection with theoretical developments. In particular, I show the results of a detailed structural analysis of approx 300 barred galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, providing physical quantities, such as bar length, ellipticity and boxyness, and bar-to-total luminosity ratio, that can either be used as a solid basis on which realistic models can be built, or be compared against more fundamental theoretical results. I also show correlations that indicate that bars grow longer, thinner and stronger with dynamical age, and that the growth of bars and bulges is connected. Finally, I briefly discuss open questions and possible directions for future research.


Table of Contents

SOME BASIC FACTS

OBSERVED PROPERTIES OF BARRED GALAXIES

ESTIMATING THE DYNAMICAL AGES OF BARS

THE STRUCTURAL PROPERTIES OF BARS

FUTURE WORK

REFERENCES

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