Gas density, stability, and starbursts near the inner lindblad resonance of the milky way

Antony A. Stark, Christopher L. Martin, Wilfred M. Walsh, Kecheng Xiao, Adair P. Lane, Christopher K Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A key project of the Antarctic Submillimeter Telescope and Remote Observatory reported by Martin et al. is the mapping of CO J = 4 → 3 and J = 7 → 6 emission from the inner Milky Way, allowing determination of gas density and temperature. Galactic center gas that Binney et al. identify as being on x2 orbits has a density near 103.5 cm 3, which renders it only marginally stable against gravitational coagulation into a few giant molecular clouds, as discussed by Elmegreen. This suggests a relaxation oscillator mechanism for starbursts in the Milky Way, whereby inflowing gas accumulates in a ring at 150 pc radius until the critical density is reached and the resulting instability leads to the sudden formation of giant clouds and the deposition of 4 × 107 M of gas onto the Galactic center. Depending on the accretion rate near the inner Lindblad resonance, this cycle will repeat with a timescale of order 20 Myr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume614
Issue number1 II
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 10 2004

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gas density
gases
gas
relaxation oscillators
coagulation
gas temperature
molecular clouds
observatories
telescopes
orbits
cycles
radii
observatory
rings
accretion
timescale
temperature

Keywords

  • Galaxies: Starburst
  • Galaxy: Structure
  • ISM: Clouds
  • ISM: Molecules
  • Stars: Formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Gas density, stability, and starbursts near the inner lindblad resonance of the milky way. / Stark, Antony A.; Martin, Christopher L.; Walsh, Wilfred M.; Xiao, Kecheng; Lane, Adair P.; Walker, Christopher K.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 614, No. 1 II, 10.10.2004.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Stark, Antony A. ; Martin, Christopher L. ; Walsh, Wilfred M. ; Xiao, Kecheng ; Lane, Adair P. ; Walker, Christopher K. / Gas density, stability, and starbursts near the inner lindblad resonance of the milky way. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2004 ; Vol. 614, No. 1 II.
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