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The Astrophysical Journal Letters






We demonstrate using numerical simulations of isolated galaxies that growth of stellar bars in spinning dark matter halos is heavily suppressed in the secular phase of evolution. In a representative set of models, we show that for values of the cosmological spin parameter λ ≳ 0.03, bar growth (in strength and size) becomes increasingly quenched. Furthermore, the slowdown of the bar pattern speed weakens considerably with increasing λ until it ceases completely. The terminal structure of the bars is affected as well, including extent and shape of their boxy/peanut bulges. The essence of this effect lies in the modified angular momentum exchange between the disk and the halo facilitated by the bar. For the first time we have demonstrated that a dark matter halo can emit and not purely absorb angular momentum. Although the halo as a whole is not found to emit, the net transfer of angular momentum from the disk to the halo is significantly reduced or completely eliminated. The paradigm shift implies that the accepted view that disks serve as sources of angular momentum and halos serve as sinks must be revised. Halos with λ ≳ 0.03 are expected to form a substantial fraction, based on the lognormal distribution of λ. The dependence of secular bar evolution on halo spin, therefore, implies profound corollaries for the cosmological evolution of galactic disks.

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Published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, v. 783, no. 1, p. 1-5.

© 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

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