Publication Date

2010

Abstract

We present preliminary results of our \hst Pa$\alpha$ survey of the Galactic Center (\gc), which maps the central 0.65$\times$0.25 degrees around Sgr A*. This survey provides us with a more complete inventory of massive stars within the \gc, compared to previous observations. We find 157 Pa$\alpha$ emitting sources, which are evolved massive stars. Half of them are located outside of three young massive star clusters near Sgr A*. The loosely spatial distribution of these field sources suggests that they are within less massive star clusters/groups, compared to the three massive ones. Our Pa$\alpha$ mosaic not only resolves previously well-known large-scale filaments into fine structures, but also reveals many new extended objects, such as bow shocks and H II regions. In particular, we find two regions with large-scale Pa$\alpha$ diffuse emission and tens of Pa$\alpha$ emitting sources in the negative Galactic longitude suggesting recent star formation activities, which were not known previously. Furthermore, in our survey, we detect $\sim$0.6 million stars, most of which are red giants or AGB stars. Comparisons of the magnitude distribution in 1.90 $\mu$m and those from the stellar evolutionary tracks with different star formation histories suggest an episode of star formation process about 350 Myr ago in the \gc .

Comments

This is the pre-published version harvested from ArXiv.

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