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Galaxy zoo: Stronger bars facilitate quenching in star-forming galaxies

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • T. Géron
  • R.J. Smethurst
  • C. Lintott
  • S. Kruk
  • K.L. Masters
  • B. Simmons
  • D.V. Stark
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/11/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)4389-4408
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date16/07/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


We have used Galaxy Zoo DECaLS (GZD) to study strong and weak bars in disc galaxies. Out of the 314 000 galaxies in GZD, we created a volume-limited sample (0.01 <z <0.05, Mr <- 18.96) which contains 1867 galaxies with reliable volunteer bar classifications in the ALFALFA footprint. In keeping with previous Galaxy Zoo surveys (such as GZ2), the morphological classifications from GZD agree well with previous morphological surveys. GZD considers galaxies to either have a strong bar (15.5 per cent), a weak bar (28.1 per cent) or no bar (56.4 per cent), based on volunteer classifications on images obtained from the DECaLS survey. This places GZD in a unique position to assess differences between strong and weak bars. We find that the strong bar fraction is typically higher in quiescent galaxies than in star-forming galaxies, while the weak bar fraction is similar. Moreover, we have found that strong bars facilitate the quenching process in star-forming galaxies, finding higher fibre star formation rates (SFRs), lower gas masses, and shorter depletion time-scales in these galaxies compared to unbarred galaxies. However, we also found that any differences between strong and weak bars disappear when controlling for bar length. Based on this, we conclude that weak and strong bars are not fundamentally different phenomena. Instead, we propose that there is a continuum of bar types, which varies from 'weakest' to 'strongest'.