|Massive Star Formation Near Sgr A* and Bimodal Star Formation in the Nuclear Disk
|387, Massive Star Formation: Observations Confront Theory
|Yusef-Zadeh, F.; Wardle, M.
|The history of star formation in the strong gravitational potential of the Galactic center has been of much interest, recently. We propose that the sub-parsec-scale disk of massive stars orbiting the massive black hole at the Galactic center can be interpreted in terms of partial accretion of extended Galactic center clouds, such as the 50 km s−1molecular cloud, as these clouds envelop Sgr A* on their passage through the inner Galactic center. The loss of angular momentum of the captured cloud material by self-interaction subsequent to gravitationally focusing by Sgr A* naturally creates a compact gaseous disk of material close to Sgr A* in which star formation takes place. On a larger scale, the formation of massive clusters such as the Arches and Quintuplet clusters or on-going massive star formation such as Sgr B2 could also be triggered by cloud-cloud collisions due to gravitational focusing in the deep potential of the central bulge.
Unlike the violent and high-pressure environment of clustered star formation triggered by cloud-cloud collision, there are also isolated pockets of star formation and quiescent dense clouds. These sites suggest an inefficient, slow mode of star formation. We propose enhanced cosmic rays in the nuclear disk may be responsible for inhibiting the process of star formation in this region. In particular, we argue that the enhanced ionization rate due to the impact of cosmic-ray particles is responsible for lowering the efficiency of on-going star formation in the nuclear disk of our Galaxy. The higher ionization fraction and higher thermal energy due to the impact of these electrons may also reduce MHD wave damping which contributes to the persistence of the high velocity dispersion of the molecular gas in the nuclear disk.