Volume 603, July 2017
|Number of page(s)||22|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||11 July 2017|
The Galactic Center Molecular Cloud Survey
I. A steep linewidth-size relation and suppression of star formation
1 Max–Planck–Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
2 Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
3 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
4 School of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University, 22 Hankou Road, 210093 Nanjing, PR China
5 Departamento de Astronomía, Universidad de Chile, Camino el Observatorio 1515, Las Condes, 1058 Santiago, Chile
Received: 7 January 2016
Accepted: 27 August 2016
The central molecular zone (CMZ; inner ~ 200 pc) of the Milky Way is a star formation (SF) environment with very extreme physical properties. Exploration of SF in this region is important because (i) this region allows us to test models of star formation under exceptional conditions; and (ii) the CMZ clouds might be suitable to serve as templates to understand the physics of starburst galaxies in the nearby and the distant universe. For this reason we launched the Galactic Center Molecular Cloud Survey (GCMS), the first systematic study that resolves all major CMZ clouds at interferometer angular resolution (i.e., a few arc seconds). Here we present initial results based on observations with the Submillimeter Array (SMA) and the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX). Our study is complemented by dust emission data from the Herschel Space Telescope and a comprehensive literature survey of CMZ star formation activity. Our research reveals (i) an unusually steep linewidth-size relation, σ(v) ∝ reff0.66±0.18, down to velocity dispersions ~ 0.6 km s-1 at 0.1 pc scale. This scaling law potentially results from the decay of gas motions to transonic velocities in strong shocks. The data also show that, relative to dense gas in the solar neighborhood, (ii) star formation is suppressed by factors ≳ 10 in individual CMZ clouds. This observation encourages exploration of processes that can suppress SF inside dense clouds for a significant period of time.
Key words: ISM: clouds / methods: data analysis / stars: formation
© ESO, 2017
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