Secular evolution in action: central values and radial trends in the stellar populations of boxy bulges
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AbstractWe determine central values and radial trends in the stellar populations of the bulges of a sam-ple of 28 edge-on S0–Sb disk galaxies, 22 of which are boxy/peanut-shaped (and therefore barred). Our principal findings are the following. (1) At a given velocity dispersion, the cen-tral stellar populations of galaxies with boxy/peanut-shaped bulges are indistinguishable from those of early-type (elliptical and S0) galaxies. Either secular evolution affects stellar popu-lations no differently to monolithic collapse or mergers, or secular evolution is not important in the central regions of these galaxies, despite the fact that they are barred. (2) The radial metallicity gradients of boxy/peanut-shaped bulges are uncorrelated with velocity dispersion and are, on average, shallower than those of unbarred early-type galaxies. This is qualitatively consistent with chemodynamical models of bar formation, in which radial inflow and outflow smears out pre-existing gradients.