NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012A-0439

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Proposal Information for 2012A-0439


PI: Tuan Do, UC Irvine, tuan.do@uci.edu
Address: Physics Department, Physics and Astronomy Department, Irvine, CA 92697, USA

CoI: Jessica Lu, University of Hawaii (IFA)
CoI: Annika Peter, UC Irvine
CoI: Gregory Martinez, UC Irvine
CoI: Manoj Kaplinghat, UC Irvine
CoI: Andrea Ghez, UCLA
CoI: Mark Morris, UCLA
CoI: Leo Meyer, UCLA

Title: Determining the physical properties and dynamical evolution of the Milky Way nuclear star cluster with NIFS

Abstract: Recent adaptive optics observations of the nuclear star cluster in the Galactic center has shown that despite theoretical expectations, the red giants (> 1 Gyr old) are not dynamically relaxed within the potential of the supermassive black hole. It is currently unclear from the presently available data whether the cluster is unrelaxed because of slow secular dynamical effects or fast disruptive events such as the infall of another massive black hole. The solution should give us insights into the growth of massive black holes and galactic nuclei. We propose to sample crucial locations within the inner 1 pc of the Galaxy to identify and measure the radial velocities of the red giants using NIFS on Gemini North behind LGS AO. The addition of radial velocities to previously measured proper motion data will allow us to construct the most complete dynamical model of the inner nucleus of any galaxy, allowing us to constrain the physical parameters such as the core size, rotation, and radial dependence of the velocity anisotropy. By modeling the phase space distribution of the cluster, we will also be able to constrain the distribution of energy and angular moment directly to compare to dynamical models.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012A-0439

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