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G. Galaz (Dpt. Astronomy and Astrophysics, PUC, CHILE), A. Villalobos (Kapteyn Institute, Groningen, THE NETHERLANDS), L. Infante (Dpt. Astronomy and Astrophysics, PUC, CHILE), C. Donzelli (IATE, Cordoba, ARGENTINA)
It is an observational fact that bulges of spiral galaxies contain a high fraction of old and metal-rich stars. Following this observational fact, we have investigated the colors of 21 bulges hosted by a selected sample of high surface brightness spirals and low surface brightness galaxies observed in B and R optical bands and in J and Ks near-IR bands. Using structural parameters derived from these observations we obtain evidence that bulges could be formed by pure disk evolution (secular evolution), in agreement with the suggestion by some authors. The color profiles, especially the near-IR ones show null or almost null color gradients, supporting the hypothesis that the disk stellar populations are similar to that present in the bulge and/or the bulge is in fact a disk with enhanced stellar density (or a pseudobulge). In the optical, half of the galaxies present an inverse color gradient, giving additional evidence in favor of secular evolution for the sample investigated. The comparison of the observed colors with those obtained from spectrophotometric models of galaxy evolution indicate that bulges of the selected sample have solar and subsolar metallicity, and are independent of the current stellar formation rate. Also, we obtain that galaxies hosting small bulges are systematically metal poor compared to those with larger bulges. These results are being checked more carefully with high S/N spectroscopy.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.