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.

FORCAST created high-quality mosaics of the most active star forming portions of the inner ~200 pc of the galaxy with an angular resolution of 2.3" and 3.4" for the 25 and 37 μm observations, respectively. They cover more than 99% of the hard saturated area in the corresponding Spitzer/MIPS mosaic. An overview paper meant to accompany the first survey data release has recently been published in ApJ. The data are available publicly available in the archive under project ID 07_0189 for further research. The composite image shows SOFIA data taken at 25 and 37 μm in blue and green, data from Herschel in red (70 μm), and the Spitzer Space Telescope in white (8 μm).

Image
Galactic Center

FORCAST
dust
star formation
imaging
galactic center
Galactic Bulge
Galaxy morphology and structure
HII regions
interstellar and intergalactic medium
multiwavelength study