AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 61 First Results from HST Cosmic Evolution Survey
Poster, Tuesday, January 11, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[61.02] How barred is our nearby universe? A detailed NIR 2MASS study of the local bar population - Setting the stage for studies of galaxy evolution

K. Menendez-Delmestre, K. Sheth, N. Z. Scoville, T. Jarrett (California Institute of Technology), E. Schinnerer (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany), M. Regan (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Bars have a dramatic impact on the evolution of a galaxy. The gas inflow prompted by a bar changes the galaxy's chemical abundance gradient and induces nuclear star formation. It may fuel active galactic nuclei and form bulges, which may lead to the bar's own destruction. Yet the basic properties of bars and their relationship to their host galaxies is not well-known even in the local Universe. This information is a prerequisite for understanding the evolution of galaxy disks over time. The 2MASS dataset offers a unique opportunity to quantify structural properties of bars such as bar length and strength in the local Universe. Using 134 large galaxies from the 2MASS sample, we determine a firm lower limit to the bar fraction of 0.58 and including "candidate" bars, an overall bar fraction of 0.72. We measure a mean deprojected semi-major axis of 5.1 kpc, and a mean deprojected ellipticity of 0.45. We discuss these properties in the context of the host galaxy properties. Our study lays the groundwork for similar studies of galaxy disk evolution with redshift.

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© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.