Galactic Bars: Driving and Decoding Galaxy Evolution

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Galactic Bars: Driving and Decoding Galaxy Evolution

Granada, 3-7 July, 2023

A large fraction of massive disc galaxies in the local Universe, including our own Milky Way, host elongated stellar structures, called galactic bars. These non-axisymmetric structures introduce torques in their host galaxies, which play a key role in their evolution, especially at late cosmic epochs. Chief amongst these secular, bar-driven evolutionary processes, is the redistribution of angular momentum across the galaxy, in the stars, gas and dark matter content. Understanding the formation and evolution of bars is therefore fundamental to achieving a complete picture of galaxy formation and evolution.

In this context, the interplay between observational and theoretical advances has been, and will remain, fundamental. In the past ten years, after the last major meeting on barred galaxies in 2013 (which also took place in Granada), developments in the area have been numerous and significant. The past decade has seen Gaia and numerous ground-based spectroscopic surveys opening new opportunities to study the Milky Way bar and its effects on the Galaxy. On the extragalactic side, the advent of powerful IFU surveys together with multiwavelength campaigns involving facilities such as ALMA, have pushed the field forward in terms of understanding the effects bars have on their host galaxies. At the same time, this past decade has seen exciting developments on the theoretical and numerical side, with important advances in dynamical modelling, the implementation of star formation and feedback in high resolution hydrodynamical simulations, and large strides in modelling barred galaxies cosmological simulations.

With the start of JWST operations and the ELTs coming online in the near future, it is time to take stock of our current understanding on the formation and evolution of bars and their impact on their host galaxies. This meeting will also celebrate Lia Athanassoula's career and her pioneering contributions to the field of bar dynamics thus far. Amongst the main topics to be discussed are:

  • Bar-driven evolution in the Milky Way
  • Barred galaxies in the local and distant universe
  • Bars in cosmological and idealised numerical simulations
  • Theoretical perspectives on bar dynamics

The meeting is intended to be highly participative, with substantial time devoted to discussions,  and should set the basis for the study of bar-driven evolution in galaxies in the new decade.

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July 6, 2023
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