On the curvature of dust lanes in galactic bars
We test the theoretical prediction that the straightest dust lanes in bars are found in strongly barred galaxies, or more specifically, that the degree of curvature of the dust lanes is inversely proportional to the strength of the bar. The test uses archival images of barred galaxies for which a reliable non-axisymmetric torque parameter (Qb) and the radius at which Qb has been measured (r(Qb)) have been published in the literature. Our results confirm the theoretical prediction but show a large spread that cannot be accounted for by measurement errors. We simulate 238 galaxies with different bar and bulge parameters in order to investigate the origin of the spread in the dust lane curvature versus Qb relation. From these simulations, we conclude that the spread is greatly reduced when describing the bar strength as a linear combination of the bar parameters Qb and the quotient of the major and minor axes of the bar, a/b. Thus, we conclude that the dust lane curvature is predominantly determined by the parameters of the bar.
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Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain
For ApJ article see Sébastien Comerón et al. 2009, ApJ, 706, L256