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The Galactic Center: Gas Inflow, Processing, and Return
Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:30pm PDT
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The Galactic Center is a unique environment. It is the deepest gravitational potential well of our Milky Way, contains a supermassive black hole, Sgr A*, the most violent star forming region Sgr B2 (despite an overall lack of star formation relative to the amount of gas), and a few stellar clusters and high energy sources. The gas follows distinct and unique trajectories; it is funneled from the Galactic disk along the bar in the form of dust lanes and then on near-circular, but open orbits at around a 100pc galactocentric radius. Further in, the molecular gas forms a 3pc circumnuclear disk before a small fraction of it disappears in Sgr A*. Feedback is visible in the form of the large-scale Fermi Bubbles that could be due to energetic outflows of Sgr A* or to widespread star formation. Feedback, however, is also visible on smaller and intermediate scales that may build up to large scale flows. In this colloquium, I will present Galactic Center molecular gas data from various observations from which we derive crucial parameters that determine its ability to self-gravitate and form stars along the gas trajectories.