The supermassive black hole at the galactic center

Fulvio Melia, Heino Falcke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

335 Scopus citations

Abstract

The inner few parsecs at the Galactic Center have come under intense scrutiny in recent years, in part due to the exciting broad-band observations of this region, but also because of the growing interest from theorists motivated to study the physics of black hole accretion, magnetized gas dynamics, and unusual star formation. The Galactic Center is now known to contain arguably the most compelling supermassive black hole candidate, weighing in at a little over 2.6 million suns. Its interaction with the nearby environment, comprised of clusters of evolved and young stars, a molecular dusty ring, ionized gas streamers, diffuse hot gas, and a hypernova remnant, is providing a wealth of accretion phenomenology and high-energy processes for detailed modeling. In this review, we summarize the latest observational results and focus on the physical interpretation of the most intriguing object in this region - the compact radio source Sgr A *, thought to be the radiative manifestation of the supermassive black hole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-352
Number of pages44
JournalAnnual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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Keywords

  • Accretion
  • Black hole physics
  • Gas dynamics
  • Jets
  • Magnetohydrodynamics
  • Radio polarization
  • Radio synchrotron
  • Stellar kinematics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

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