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Inside-out formation of nuclear discs and the absence of old central spheroids in barred galaxies of the TIMER survey

Bittner, Adrian and Sánchez-Blázquez, Patricia and Gadotti, Dimitri A. and Neumann, Justus and Fragkoudi, Francesca and Coelho, Paula and de Lorenzo-Cáceres, Adriana and Falcón-Barroso, Jesús and Kim, Taehyun and Leaman, Ryan and Martín-Navarro, Ignacio and Méndez-Abreu, Jairo and Pérez, Isabel and Querejeta, Miguel and Seidel, Marja K. and van de Ven, Glenn (2020) Inside-out formation of nuclear discs and the absence of old central spheroids in barred galaxies of the TIMER survey. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 643 . Art. No. A65. ISSN 0004-6361.

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The centres of disc galaxies host a variety of structures built via both internal and external processes. In this study, we constrain the formation and evolution of these central structures, in particular, nuclear rings and nuclear discs, by deriving maps of mean stellar ages, metallicities, and [α/Fe] abundances. We use observations obtained with the MUSE integral-field spectrograph for the TIMER sample of 21 massive barred galaxies. Our results indicate that nuclear discs and nuclear rings are part of the same physical component, with nuclear rings constituting the outer edge of nuclear discs. All nuclear discs in the sample are clearly distinguished based on their stellar population properties. As expected in the picture of bar-driven secular evolution, nuclear discs are younger, more metal-rich, and exhibit lower [α/Fe] enhancements, as compared to their immediate surroundings. Moreover, nuclear discs exhibit well-defined radial gradients, with ages and metallicities decreasing, and [α/Fe] abundances increasing with radius out to the nuclear ring. Often, these gradients show no breaks from the edge of the nuclear disc up through the centre, suggesting that these structures extend to the very centres of galaxies. We argue that continuous (stellar) nuclear discs may form from a series of bar-built (initially gas-rich) nuclear rings that expand in their radius as the bar evolves. In this picture, nuclear rings are simply the (often) star-forming outer edge of nuclear discs. Finally, by combining our results with those taken from a accompanying kinematic study, we do not find evidence for the presence of large, dispersion-dominated components in the centres of these galaxies. This could be a result of quiet merger histories, despite the large galaxy masses, or, perhaps, due to high angular momentum and strong feedback processes preventing the formation of these kinematically hot components.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Bittner, Adrian0000-0002-9879-9839
Sánchez-Blázquez, Patricia0000-0003-0651-0098
Gadotti, Dimitri A.0000-0003-1775-2367
Neumann, Justus0000-0002-3289-8914
Fragkoudi, Francesca0000-0002-0897-3013
Coelho, Paula0000-0003-1846-4826
de Lorenzo-Cáceres, Adriana0000-0002-9744-3486
Falcón-Barroso, Jesús0000-0002-0608-9574
Kim, Taehyun0000-0002-5857-5136
Leaman, Ryan0000-0001-6785-9336
Martín-Navarro, Ignacio0000-0001-8494-0080
Méndez-Abreu, Jairo0000-0002-8766-2597
Querejeta, Miguel0000-0002-0472-1011
Seidel, Marja K.0000-0002-6223-4094
van de Ven, Glenn0000-0003-4546-7731
Additional Information:© 2020 ESO. Article published by EDP Sciences. Received 19 May 2020; Accepted 2 September 2020; Published online 03 November 2020. We thank the referee for a prompt and constructive report. Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory under programmes 060.A-9313(A), 094.B-0321(A), 095.B-0532(A), and 097.B-0640(A). J. F-B, AdLC, and PSB acknowledge support through the RAVET project by the grants PID2019-107427GB-C31, AYA2016-77237-C3-1-P, and AYA2016-77237-C3-2-P from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (MCIU). J. F-B and AdLC acknowledge support through the IAC project TRACES which is partially supported through the state budget and the regional budget of the Consejería de Economía, Industria, Comercio y Conocimiento of the Canary Islands Autonomous Community. The Science, Technology and Facilities Council is acknowledged by JN for support through the Consolidated Grant Cosmology and Astrophysics at Portsmouth, ST/S000550/1. PC acknowledges financial support from Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) process number 2018/05392-8 and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) process number 310041/2018-0. JMA acknowledges support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) by grant AYA2017-83204-P. GvdV acknowledges funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 724857 (Consolidator Grant ArcheoDyn). TK was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (No. 2019R1A6A3A01092024). This research has made use of the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France (Wenger et al. 2000); NASA’s Astrophysics Data System (ADS); Astropy (, a community-developed core Python package for Astronomy (Astropy Collaboration 2013, 2018); NumPy Oliphant (2006); SciPy (Virtanen et al. 2020); and Matplotlib (Hunter 2007).
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (MCIU)PID2019-107427GB-C31
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)AYA2016-77237-C3-1-P
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)AYA2016-77237-C3-2-P
Consejería de Economía, Industria, Comercio y ConocimientoUNSPECIFIED
Canary Islands Autonomous CommunityUNSPECIFIED
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/S000550/1
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Sao Paulo (FAPESP)2018/05392-8
Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq)310041/2018-0
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)AYA2017-83204-P
European Research Council (ERC)724857
National Research Foundation of Korea2019R1A6A3A01092024
Ministry of Education (Korea)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: evolution – galaxies: formation – galaxies: spiral – galaxies: stellar content – galaxies: structure – galaxies: bulges
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201104-154925882
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Inside-out formation of nuclear discs and the absence of old central spheroids in barred galaxies of the TIMER survey. Adrian Bittner, Patricia Sánchez-Blázquez, Dimitri A. Gadotti, Justus Neumann, Francesca Fragkoudi, Paula Coelho, Adriana de Lorenzo-Cáceres, Jesús Falcón-Barroso, Taehyun Kim, Ryan Leaman, Ignacio Martín-Navarro, Jairo Méndez-Abreu, Isabel Pérez, Miguel Querejeta, Marja K. Seidel and Glenn van de Ven. A&A, 643 (2020) A65; DOI:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:106442
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:05 Nov 2020 00:09
Last Modified:05 Nov 2020 00:09

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