On the curvature of dust lanes in galactic bars.

Caption: Qb in in the horizontal axis and dust lane curvature of the observed galaxies in the vertical axis.
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(2009) On the Curvature of Dust Lanes in Galactic Bars. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 706, Issue 2, pp. L256-L259

We tested 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 used archival images of barred galaxies for which Qb (which has been called the bar strength parameter) was known. Our results confirm the theoretical prediction but show a large spread that cannot be accounted for by the measurement errors. We simulated 238 galaxies with different bar and bulge parameters in order to investigate the origin of the spread and we found that it is greatly reduced when describing the bar strength as a linear combination of Qb and the bar axis ratio. Thus we conclude that in some cases Qb is not a good indicator of the strength of the bar.

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