Article - GCNEWS, Vol. 5, July 1997


A Newsletter for Galactic Center Research
This Volume was edited by Angela Cotera & Heino Falcke

Volume 5, July 1997 - ARTICLE

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Preliminary MSX Galactic Center Results

R.F. Shipman, M.P. Egan & S.D. Price
(Phillips Laboratory, Geophysics Directorate, Hanscom AFB.)

(Click on image to see a slighly larger version.)

The Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) observatory is a Ballistic Missile Defense Organization project. SPIRIT III is the primary instrument for gathering long-wave infrared data during the MSX mission. It consists of an extremely high off-axis rejection telescope; a five-color, high-spatial resolution, 4.2 to 26 micron multispectral radiometer; and a six-channel, high-spectral resolution, 2.5 to 28 micron Fourier transform spectrometer. The radiometer detectors are arranged in columns to cover 1 degree of the sky perpendicular to the scan direction. Two separate Celestial experiments have observed the Galactic Center. From these, we have over 50 scans across the center from 4 to 26 micron and at 30 times the spatial resolution of IRAS. For a complete description of all the Celestial experiments see Price (1995) and Price et al. (1996). The figure shows a 16-26 micron image of one scan across the Galactic Center. The pixels are 9 arcsec and the image covers roughly 2 x 0.75 degree. The high spatial resolution of SPIRIT III reveals many details of the Galactic Center that were not seen in earlier surveys. The image clearly shows the dust emission around Sgr A* (l=-0.06, b=-0.05) and the dust emission from the thermal radio filaments (l=+0.2, b=0). Also, for the first time a closed loop is clearly visible at l=0.2, b=-0.12. Finally, the molecular cloud core, M0.25+0.01 (Lis et al. 1994), is seen in extinction. The high spatial resolution of SPIRIT III makes it ideal for studying the confused regions of our Galaxy. For more images and early results of MSX, please visit out Web site:


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