Accretion and Star Formation Induced by the Galactic Center Supermassive Black Hole Sgr A*

Project: Research project

Project Details


Overview: In the proposed observational and theoretical program, we aim to investigate the processes that lead to accretion onto Sgr A* and establish ongoing star formation in the tidal field of Sgr A*. The processes that lead to accretion are closely related to star formation in the nuclei of galaxies that host massive black holes. We will study a disk-based mode of star formation, entirely distinct from the standard cloud-based mode observed in the Galactic disk, as well as the underluminous nature of Sgr A*. We will monitor the variability of the black hole as a cloud of gas, G2, encounters the atmosphere of Sgr A* in the next few years. In addition, we have a multi-pronged observational approach to identify sites of ongoing star formation near Sgr A*. Intellectual Merit: The nucleus of our Galaxy centered on the 4×106 M� black hole Sgr A* is an excellent site to examine the nature of star formation and accretion onto a massive black hole. These studies have far reaching implications on the nature of star formation and AGN activity in the nuclei of more active galaxies hosting massive black holes. Our understanding of star formation near a supermassive black hole will shed light on the nature of accretion flow onto the massive black hole. For example, does star formation near a black hole suppress mass accretion or does it enhance accretion onto the massive black hole? Here, we examine these two related topics. We have a number of observations that are either scheduled or being planned to determine if ongoing star formation is taking place in the last few 104−105 years. We are also scheduled in 2013 and 2014 to observe the G2 cloud as it approaches the black hole. These observations include searching for protostellar outflows, SED fitting of young stellar objects, water and methanol masers and compact HII regions within the inner 2pc of the Galaxy. The evidence for on-going star formation will establish that the cluster of massive stars orbiting Sgr A* has
Effective start/end date8/1/157/31/22


  • National Science Foundation (AST-1517246 002)


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