Circumnuclear regions in barred spiral galaxies - II. Relations to host galaxies

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We present optical broad- and narrow-band imaging of a sample of a dozen barred galaxies. These images are analysed in conjunction with our previously published near-infrared imaging of their central regions and with literature values for, e.g. bar strengths and the total star formation activity of the galaxies. We present B, I and Hα images, and radial profiles derived from these, to infer geometric and dynamical parameters of the structural components of the galaxies, such as bar lengths, bar ellipticities, and location of star formation and dust. We find that the more centrally concentrated the Hα emission in a galaxy is, i.e. the higher the fraction of star formation originating in the circumnuclear region, the higher the overall star formation rate, as measured from far-infrared flux ratios. Stronger bars host smaller nuclear rings, but the strength of the bar does not correlate with either the intrinsic ellipticity of the ring or the offset between the position angles of the bar and the ring. We interpret these results in comparison with modelling of gas inflow in the circumnuclear region, and show that they were theoretically expected. We confirm observationally, and for the first time, the anticorrelation predicted from theory and modelling between the degree of curvature of the bar dust lanes and the strength of the bar, where stronger bars have straighter dust lanes.

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society