AAS 197, January 2001
Session 4. The Milky Way Galaxy
Display, Monday, January 8, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[4.07] OVRO High Resolution Imaging of the Dense Molecular Gas in the Central 4 Parsecs of the Galaxy

M.H. Christopher, N.Z. Scoville (Caltech), S.R. Stolovy (IPAC/SIRTF Science Center, Caltech), M.S. Yun (UMass)

Recent observations of the Galactic Center have shown it to be an exceedingly active region with an accreting black hole candidate (Sgr A*), a young hot stellar cluster within the central parsec, and a surrounding Circumnuclear Disk (CND) of dense molecular gas. In an attempt to better understand the physical processes near the Galactic Center, we present high spatial and spectral resolution images of HCO+ and HCN emission within the central 4 parsecs of the Galaxy. HCO+ and HCN are excellent tracers of molecular gas with densities greater than 105 cm-3. Using the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) millimeter array, we achieve a spatial resolution of 2-3", corresponding to a physical size of approximately .1 pc. These observations reveal a large amount of small scale clumpiness within the CND as well as the presence of long linear, filamentary structures which appear over the range of 4-5 spectral channels (28-35 km/s). These linear filaments could be shock-related structures, and we investigate this hypothesis by examining the kinematic structure of these filaments as seen in our OVRO observations and by comparing the HCN and HCO+ distributions with published molecular hydrogen maps.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: mc@astro.caltech.edu

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