Bar effects on central star formation and active galactic nucleus activity

Sree Oh, Kyuseok Oh, Sukyoung K. Yi

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76 Citations (Scopus)


Galactic bars are often suspected to be channels of gas inflow to the galactic center and to trigger central star formation and active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity. However, the current status on this issue based on empirical studies is unsettling, especially regarding AGNs. We investigate this question based on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7. From the nearby (0.01 < z < 0.05) bright (M r < -19) database, we have constructed a sample of 6658 relatively face-on late-type galaxies through visual inspection. We found 36% of them to have a bar. Bars are found to be more common in galaxies with earlier morphology. This makes sample selection critical. Parameter-based selections would miss a large fraction of barred galaxies of early morphology. Bar effects on star formation or AGNs are difficult to understand properly because multiple factors (bar frequency, stellar mass, black hole mass, gas contents, etc.) seem to contribute to them in intricate manners. In the hope of breaking these degeneracies, we inspect bar effects for fixed galaxy properties. Bar effects on central star formation seem higher in redder galaxies. Bar effects on AGNs on the other hand are higher in bluer and less massive galaxies. These effects seem more pronounced with increasing bar length. We discuss possible implications in terms of gas contents, bar strength, bar evolution, fueling timescale, and the dynamical role of supermassive black hole.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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