Peanuts, brezels and bananas: food for thought on the orbital structure of the Galactic bulge
Recent observations have discovered the presence of a box/peanut or X-shape structure in the Galactic bulge. Such box/peanut structures are common in external disc galaxies, and are well known in N-body simulations where they form following the buckling instability of a bar. From studies of analytical potentials and N-body models, it has been claimed in the past that box/peanut bulges are supported by ‘bananas’, or x1v1 orbits. We present here a set of N-body models where instead the peanut bulge is mainly supported by brezel-like orbits, allowing strong peanuts to form with short extent relative to the bar length. This shows that stars in the X-shape do not necessarily stream along banana orbits which follow the arms of the X-shape. The brezel orbits are also found to be the main orbital component supporting the peanut shape in our recent made-to-measure dynamical models of the Galactic bulge. We also show that in these models the fraction of stellar orbits that contribute to the X-structure account for 40–45 per cent of the stellar mass.