Another bar in the Bulge
Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 98bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France
2 Observatoire de Paris, 77 avenue Denfert Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France
Accepted: 22 October 2001
A map of the projected density of the old stellar population of the Galactic Bulge region is reconstructed using 2MASS data. By making a combination of the H and K photometric bands, it is possible to overcome the effect of reddening, and thus penetrate the inner structure of the Galactic Bulge. The main structure in the map corresponds to the well documented peanut shaped bar which is formed by the inner parts of the Galactic disk as a result of dynamical instabilities. As suggested by numerical simulations, the projected Z profile of the bar, has an almost exponential shape. After subtracting the exponential profile associated with the bar, a large residual appear near the Galactic Center. This residual is elongated and asymmetrical, which suggest a bar structure. Thus we arrive at the conclusion that in addition to the main bar a smaller bar with a different orientation may exist in the central region of the Milky Way. This finding makes the Milky Way very similar to a large number of barred spiral Galaxies which show as well a smaller bar in their central regions.
Key words: Galaxy: bulge / Galaxy: structure
© ESO, 2001