Evidence for the interaction of the IRS 16 wind with the ionized and molecular gas at the galactic center

Farhad Yusef-Zadeh*, Mark Wardle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We present a number of high-resolution radio images showing evidence for the dynamical interaction of the outflow arising from the IRS 16 complex with the ionized gas associated with the Northern Arm of Sgr A West, and with the northwestern segment of the circumnuclear molecular disk which engulfs the inner few parsecs of the Galactic center. These interactions offer an opportunity to explain some important aspects of the complex morphology of ionized and molecular gas at the Galactic center. In particular we suggest that the wind disturbs the dynamics of the Northern Arm within 0.1 pc of the center, is responsible for the waviness of the arm at larger distances and is collimated by Sgr A West and the circumnuclear disk. The waviness is discussed in terms of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability induced by the ram pressure of the wind incident on the surface of the Northern Arm. Another consequence of this interaction is the strong mid IR polarization of the Northern Arm in the vicinity of the IRS 16 complex which is explained as a result of the ram pressure of the wind compressing the gas and the magnetic field. The IRS 16 complex must therefore lie close to the Northern Arm. On a large scale we argue that the wind has swept up the diffuse material in the inner parsec of the Galactic center and that the interaction with the inner part of the northwestern part of the circumnuclear ring is responsible for the H2 v = 1-0 emission and the ionized streamers. Lastly, we discuss the possibility that the outflow from IRS 16 could be responsible for eating away the inner edge of the circumnuclear disk and provide friction needed for the infall of the material in the arms of Sgr A West.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-590
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 10 1993


  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxy: center
  • ISM: individual (IRS 16)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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