The luminosity of the Galactic center

J. A. Davidson, M. W. Werner, X. Wu, D. F. Lester, P. M. Harvey, M. Joy, M. Morris

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68 Citations (Scopus)


High signal-to-noise 50- and 90-micron continuum maps of the central 5 x 4 arcmin of the Galaxy made from observations on the Kuiper Airborne Observatory are presented. Dust and luminosity distribution models which are consistent with the data are presented. These data are consistent with a flared disk of dust, centered on the position of Sgr A*, having a central cavity wth a radius of 1 pc. Strong evidence is found for a large amount of dust between the northern and eastern ionized arms located within the cavity. It is argued that this 'tongue' of dust is optically thick at UV and visible wavelengths. Both smooth and clumped dust distributions, consistent with the disk and central cavity, are considered. For the smooth distribution, the dust heating is found to be consistent with the data only for a central UV source of a few x 10 exp 6 solar luminosities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-211
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1992


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