Peanut-shaped metallicity distributions in bulges of edge-on galaxies: the case of NGC 4710

Gonzalez, Oscar A., Debattista, Victor P orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7902-0116, Ness, Melissa, Erwin, Peter and Gadotti, Dimitri A. (2016) Peanut-shaped metallicity distributions in bulges of edge-on galaxies: the case of NGC 4710. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 466 (1). L93-L97. ISSN 1745-3933

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Bulges of edge-on galaxies are often boxy/peanut-shaped (B/PS), and unsharp masks reveal the presence of an X shape. Simulations show that these shapes can be produced by dynamical processes driven by a bar which vertically thickens the centre. In the Milky Way, which contains such a B/PS bulge, the X-shaped structure is traced by the metal-rich stars but not
by the metal-poor ones. Recently, Debattista et al. interpreted this property as a result of the varying effect of the bar on stellar populations with different starting kinematics. This kinematic fractionation model predicts that cooler populations at the time of bar formation go on to trace the X shape, whereas hotter populations are more uniformly distributed. As this
prediction is not specific to the Milky Way, we test it with Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) observations of the B/PS bulge in the nearby galaxy NGC 4710. We show that the metallicity map is more peanut-shaped than the density distribution itself, in good agreement with the prediction. This result indicates that the X-shaped structure in B/PS bulges is formed of relatively metal-rich stars that have been vertically redistributed by the bar, whereas the metal-poor stars have more uniform, box-shaped distribution.

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