Invited review at "Galaxies and their Masks", celebrating Ken Freeman's 70-th birthday, Sossusvlei, Namibia, April 2010. To be published by Springer, New York, editors D.L. Block, K.C. Freeman, & I. Puerari.
astro-ph/1005.0506

For a PDF version of the article, click here.

RINGS AND BARS: UNMASKING SECULAR EVOLUTION OF GALAXIES

Johan H. Knapen


Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, E-38200 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain and Departamento de Astrofísica, Universidad de La Laguna, E-38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain


Abstract. Secular evolution gradually shapes galaxies by internal processes, in contrast to early cosmological evolution which is more rapid. An important driver of secular evolution is the flow of gas from the disk into the central regions, often under the influence of a bar. In this paper, we review several new observational results on bars and nuclear rings in galaxies. They show that these components are intimately linked to each other, and to the properties of their host galaxy. We briefly discuss how upcoming observations, e.g., imaging from the Spitzer Survey of Stellar Structure in Galaxies (S4G), will lead to significant further advances in this area of research.


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

BARS
Basic properties of bars
Bar dust lanes
Bars and spirals
Bars and secular evolution

RINGS

FUTURE WORK: THE S4G SURVEY

CONCLUSIONS

REFERENCES

Next