Sungsoo S. Kim & Mark Morris

(1) Division of Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1562;,,

Paper: ApJ, scheduled for June 2001 issue


EPrint Server: astro-ph/0102238


Star formation in the inner few hundred pc of the Galactic bulge occurs in a flattened molecular layer called the central molecular zone (CMZ). \markciteSM96Serabyn & Morris (1996) suggest that the star formation in the CMZ has been sustained for the lifetime of the Galaxy, and that the resulting agglomeration of stars formed in the CMZ has resulted in the prominent r-2 stellar density cusp at the Galactic center having about the same physical extent as the CMZ. This ``central cusp'' is somewhat less flat than the CMZ; thus the population of stars formed in the CMZ appears to have diffused out to larger latitudes. We hypothesize that such vertical diffusion is driven by the scattering of stars off the giant molecular clouds (GMC) in the CMZ, and perform numerical simulations of the scattering between stars and GMCs in the presence of the non-axisymmetric background potential. The simulation results show that the time scale for an initially flattened stellar population to achieve an aspect ratio of the observed OH/IR stars in the inner bulge, 1 to 2 Gyr, agrees well with the estimated age of those OH/IR stars.

Preprints available from the authors at , or the raw TeX (no figures) if you click here.

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