Unifying the planar bar and the boxy bulge of the Milky Way
Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse, 85748 Garching, Germany
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For some time the Milky Way has been understood as a barred disk galaxy. Star count observations have provided evidence for two bars at apparently different orientations, the boxy bulge and a long planar bar. We report recent work in which we argued for a scenario where these observations can be reproduced with a single boxy bulge/bar: an evolved bar from the stellar disk and the corresponding boxy bulge generated from it through secular evolution and buckling instability. We calculated the star count distributions along different lines-of-sight for a simulated barred galaxy and an observer at the Sun position, and compared them with observations of red clump magnitude distributions. We found a good agreement between the model and the observations, even though the simulation has a single boxy bulge/bar. In this model, the different apparent orientations of the boxy bulge and planar bar are partially due to the volume effect and partially to the leading ends of the bar.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2012