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4.8. Conclusions

This section leads to two observational conclusions. First (Fig. 9): Besides true exponential disks and Freeman (1970) Type II exponentials, some disks have steeper density profiles near the center than the inward extrapolation of an exponential fitted at large r. Disks can even have r1/4 - law central brightness profiles, in which case they are indistinguishable from bulges on the basis of density or density gradient alone. They can often be recognized by Vmax / sigma values that are larger than normal for isotropic spheroids of the observed epsilon (however, see section 6). I do not mean to imply that there is no bulge at all in all of these galaxies; at least at early Hubble types, the high-density disk material has probably been added to a preexisting bulge. But in extreme cases, the disk dominates the projected density.

Figure 9

Figure 9. Schematic disk brightness profiles.

Second (Fig. 10): If we want B/T to measure the true bulge-to-total luminosity ratio, i.e., the fraction of the total light that is contributed by an ellipsoidal component that is more-or-less like an elliptical galaxy, then the true distribution of bulge-to-total luminosity ratios is skewed toward smaller values than those we derive from a blind decomposition of luminosity distributions into r1/4 - law and exponential parts. At all Hubble types, this effect is most common in barred and oval galaxies. Otherwise, it is smallest at early Hubble types, where most bulges are like ellipticals (except in some S0s). At type Sb, there are already some galaxies in which most of the "bulge" is really disk material, although others (e.g., M 31 and M 81) contain true bulges. By type Sc, I do not believe that any galaxies contain true bulges.

Figure 10

Figure 10. Schematic distributions of true bulge-to-total luminosity ratios. This figure is adapted from Fig. 2 in Simien and de Vaucouleurs (1986); Eb, Ee, and Ed refer to ellipticals with boxy, elliptical, and disky isophotes, respectively. The points are values measured by decomposing profiles into r1/4-law and exponential parts. The curves estimate how the boundaries of the B/T distributions change if we include disk-like "bulges" with disks. More accurate B/T distributions should ultimately be based on dynamical data.

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