Exploring High-Velocity NH3(6,6) Emission at the Center of our Galaxy

Jennifer L. Donovan1, Robeson M. Herrnstein1, and Paul T.P. Ho2,3

(1) Department of Astronomy, Columbia University, 550 West 120th St., Mail Code 5246, New York, NY 10027
(2) Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138
(3) Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Taipei

Paper: ApJ, Aug 2006, accepted

EPrint Server: astro-ph/0605280


Using the NH3 (6,6) transition, which samples dense ( 105) molecular gas with an energy above ground of 412 K, we find hot gas at high velocities (-142 to -210 km s-1) associated with the central 2 pc of the Galactic center. This material may be either infalling gas due to shocks or tidal stripping, or possibly gas swept from the nuclear region. We identify two high-velocity features, which we call the Southern Runner and the Cap, and correlate these features with others detected in various molecular observations of the Galactic center. The characteristic linewidths of the Southern Runner and Cap, 10 - 15 km/sec , are similar to those of other hot Galactic center clouds. The estimated H_2 masses of these clouds are 4* 103 M\sol and 2* 103 M\sol, consistent with the masses of the western streamer and northern ridge, NH3 (6,6) emission features detected within the central 10 pc at lower velocities. Three possible explanations for this emission are discussed assuming that they lie at the Galactic center, including sweeping by the supernova remnant Sgr A East, infall and/or shock from the circumnuclear disk (CND), and stripping from the central rotating low-velocity NH3 (6,6) cloud.

Preprints available from the authors at jen@astro.columbia.edu , or the raw TeX (no figures) if you click here.

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