|CO Excitation across the Circumnuclear Disk||
The Milky Way Galactic center (GC) is the only laboratory in which we can spatially resolve the gas components and separate the physical processes that take place in galactic centers. The molecular gas of the GC is distributed in a torus structure, the circumnuclear disk (CND). A complete sample of CO J-transitions, from low-J transitions (e.g. J=2-1) to the high-J transition accessible only with GREAT (e.g. J=16-15), allows for the separation of different gas components, and for the identification and analysis of the physical properties and excitation processes present in the CND.
|Exploring the CMZ: the Arches Cluster||
The Arches Cluster, the densest star cluster in our galaxy, is located within the Galactic Center’s Central Molecular Zone (CMZ), just about 25 pc from Sagittarius A*. Named after the arch-shaped radio-bright structures in its line of sight, it is believed to be an important ionization source, powering the major star formation area in the CMZ (the Galactic Center bubble).
|Galactic Center Legacy Program||
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.