AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 100. Galaxy Evolution and Surveys: Miscellaneous
Oral, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 10:00-11:30am, 613-614

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[100.01] Using Bars as Signposts of Galaxy Evolution

K. Sheth (Caltech), M. W. Regan (STScI), N. Z. Scoville, L.E. Strubbe (Caltech)

Recent studies of galaxy morphology with the Hubble Deep Fields have indicated a dramatic paucity of bars beyond a redshift > 0.5. This result is unexpected because the classical bar formation mechanism would predict that bars ought to be more common at higher redshifts because of dynamically colder galaxy disks and increased interactions. If the scarcity of bars is true, then serious constraints may be placed on the evolutionary stage of galactic disks. On the other hand, it is possible that the observations are misleading due to band-shifting and dust obscuration effects. While these criticisms have been suggested qualitatively, a quantitative analysis of the evolution of the bar fraction with redshift has been missing. We present preliminary results from an analysis of the bar fraction as a function of redshift using the NICMOS Deep Field, the best dataset available for such a quantitative study. For a control sample we use a sample of spirals representative of the nearby Universe and simulate their appearance at different redshifts using an IDL code developed by Strubbe et al. (discussed in poster session).

This work is partially supported by grant HST-AR-09552.01-A through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Incorporated, under NASA contract NAS5-26555, and by NSF grant AST-9981546.

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