A Comprehensive Study of Hydrodynamic Processes at the Galactic Center
AuthorRockefeller, Gabriel Matthew
Committee ChairMelia, Fulvio
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractOur Galactic center hosts the closest known supermassive black hole candidate. With a mass of approximately 3.7 million solar masses, this compact object, known as Sgr A*, has a considerable influence on the central parsecs of the Galaxy. However, many observed features of the Galactic center result from the presence of and interactions among other stellar and gaseous components, including clusters of massive, wind-producing stars, ionized gas streamers, dense molecular clouds, and supernova remnants. We present a series of simulations and studies of the interactions among these components. In each case, we attempt to explain a particular feature or present a new interpretation of recent observations of the Galactic center. Our simulations of interactions among stellar winds in the central parsec of the Galaxy and in the Arches and Quintuplet clusters are able to explain the diffuse X-ray emission observed there by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Similarly, our simulations of the explosive formation of the synchrotron shell source Sgr A East place tight constraints on the age and progenitor of such an explosion and might explain the observed X-ray fluorescence of molecular clouds at larger distances from the Galactic center. Finally, our studies of accretion disks around Sgr A* provide a first three-dimensional look at the structure of the accretion flow onto this supermassive black hole and pave the way for full simulations of accretion from length scales of parsecs down to Schwarzschild radii.