Infalling Gas Towards the Galactic Center

Alison L. Coil, Paul T.P. Ho

(1) Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St. MS-78, Cambridge, MA 02138, e-mail:;,

Paper: ApJ, in press

EPrint Server: astro-ph/9809068


VLA maps of ammonia emission were made for the Galactic Center region. The NH3(1,1) and NH3(2,2) transitions were observed in three 2'*2' fields covering Sgr A^* and the region 3' immediately south of it. In the central 3 parsecs surrounding Sgr A^* we find emission which appears to be associated with the circumnuclear disk (CND), both morphologically and kinematically. This central emission is connected to a long, narrow 2 pc*10 pc streamer of clumpy molecular gas located towards the south, which appears to be carrying gas from the nearby 20 km sec-1 giant molecular cloud (GMC) to the circumnuclear region. We find a velocity gradient along the streamer, with progressively higher velocities as the gas approaches Sgr A^*. The streamer stops at the location of the CND, where the line width of the NH3 emission increases dramatically. This may be the kinematic signature of accretion onto the CND. The ratio of the NH3(2,2)/NH3(1,1) emission indicates that the gas is heated at the northern tip of the streamer, located inside the eastern edge of the CND. The morphology, kinematics and temperature gradients of the gas all indicate that the southern streamer is located at the Galactic Center and is interacting with the circumnuclear region.

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