The circumnuclear disk, a molecular gas disk surrounding the ionized gas of the Galactic center, gives us the unique opportunity to study spatially resolved molecular gas close to a massive black hole and investigate in detail the gas properties and the effects of the different local processes. The characterization of the molecular gas can be obtained with the CO excitation analysis, combining a sample of CO transitions.
The Arches Cluster, one of the densest star cluster in our galaxy, is located within the Galactic Center’s Central Molecular Zone, just about 25 pc from Sagittarius A*. Maps of this cluster are available through the SOFIA archive, including: spectrally-resolved maps of the [CII] line from GREAT, wide-field maps of the [CII] and [NIII] 57 µm lines from FIFI-LS, and 25 µm and 37 µm FORCAST maps.
The inaugural Legacy Program used the FORCAST instrument to observe the Galactic Center using the 25-micron and 37-micron bands. The data have unprecedented spatial resolution – six times higher than past observations — resulting in a vastly improved view of warm dust in the center of the galaxy and revealing signatures of star formation in exquisite detail.