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Star formation suppression and bar ages in nearby barred galaxies

James, PA and Percival, SM (2017) Star formation suppression and bar ages in nearby barred galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 474 (3). pp. 3101-3109. ISSN 0035-8711

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Abstract

We present new spectroscopic data for 21 barred spiral galaxies, which we use to explore the effect of bars on disk star formation, and to place constraints on the characteristic lifetimes of bar episodes. The analysis centres on regions of heavily suppressed star formation activity, which we term 'star formation deserts'. Long-slit optical spectroscopy is used to determine H beta absorption strengths in these desert regions, and comparisons with theoretical stellar population models are used to determine the time since the last significant star formation activity, and hence the ages of the bars. We find typical ages of approx. 1 Gyr, but with a broad range, much larger than would be expected from measurement errors alone, extending from about 0.25 Gyr to more than 4 Gyr. Low-level residual star formation, or mixing of stars from outside the 'desert' regions, could result in a doubling of these age estimates. The relatively young ages of the underlying populations coupled with the strong limits on the current star formation rule out a gradual exponential decline in activity, and hence support our assumption of an abrupt truncation event.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2017 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: astro-ph.GA; astro-ph.GA
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2018 09:28
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2018 18:21
DOI or Identification number: 10.1093/mnras/stx2990
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7695

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