NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0528

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Proposal Information for 2014A-0528


PI: Tuan Do, University of Toronto, do@di.utoronto.ca
Address: Department of Astronomy, 60 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1A1, Canada

CoI: Andrea Ghez, UC Los Angeles
CoI: Jessica Lu, University of Hawaii (IfA)
CoI: Sylvana Yelda, UC Los Angeles
CoI: Leo Meyer, UC Los Angeles
CoI: Norman Murray, University of Toronto
CoI: Morten Stostad, University of Toronto

Title: Determining the orgin and structure of the young stellar disk at the Galactic center with NIFS

Abstract: The existence of a kinematically distinct disk of young stars in the center of the Milky Way has long been a puzzle, as the strong tidal field from the supermassive black hole should inhibit the collapse of molecular clouds. The solution to this puzzle will offer insight onto star formation in extreme environments. Two solutions have been offered: in-situ star formation in a massive gaseous accretion disk around Sgr A*, or the young stars were brought in by an infalling cluster. Despite many observations in the past decade, neither of these scenarios are clearly favored by data. We propose a new approach to differentiate between these two scenarios by searching for an edge to the young stellar disk. In-situ formation should show an edge where the gas disk truncates, but an infalling cluster should leave a trail of stars. A previous NIFS program from our group to map the disk plane has shown some evidence for such an edge. We propose to obtain LGS AO NIFS observations to sample additional azimuthal and radial locations to determine whether an edge exists, or whether the previous NIFS program missed young stars because the disk is highly warped as some observations have claimed. This program will also map the kinematics of the young stars to infer the initial conditions for their formation.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0528

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