ALMA and VLA Observations: Evidence for Ongoing Low-mass Star Formation near Sgr A*

Yusef-Zadeh, F.; Cotton, W.; Wardle, M.; Royster, M. J.; Kunneriath, D.; Roberts, D. A.; Wootten, A.; Schödel, R.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 467, Issue 1, p.922-927 (2017).


Using the VLA, we recently detected a large number of protoplanetary disk (proplyd) candidates lying within a couple of light years of the massive black hole Sgr A*. The bow-shock appearance of proplyd candidates point toward the young massive stars located near Sgr A*. Similar to Orion proplyds, the strong UV radiation from the cluster of massive stars at the Galactic center is expected to photoevaporate and photoionize the circumstellar disks around young, low mass stars, thus allowing detection of the ionized outflows from the photoionized layer surrounding cool and dense gaseous disks. To confirm this picture, ALMA observations detect millimeter emission at 226 GHz from five proplyd candidates that had been detected at 44 and 34 GHz with the VLA. We present the derived disk masses for four sources as a function of the assumed dust temperature. The mass of protoplanetary disks from cool dust emission ranges between 0.03 - 0.05 M. These estimates are consistent with the disk masses found in star forming sites in the Galaxy. These measurements show the presence of on-going star formation with the implication that gas clouds can survive near Sgr A* and the relative importance of high vs low-mass star formation in the strong tidal and radiation fields of the Galactic center.