Astrophys. J., 509, 678-686 (1998/December-3)
High proper-motion stars in the vicinity of Sagittarius A* evidence for a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.
GHEZ A.M., KLEIN B.L., MORRIS M. and BECKLIN E.E.
Abstract (from CDS):
Over a 2 year period we have conducted a diffraction-limited imaging study at 2.2 µm of the inner 6"x6" of the central stellar cluster of the Galaxy using the W. M. Keck 10 m telescope. The K-band images obtained in 1995 June, 1996 June, and 1997 May have the highest angular resolution obtained at near-infrared wavelengths from ground or space (θres = 0".05 = 0.002 pc) and reveal a large population of faint stars. We use an unbiased approach for identifying and selecting stars to be included in this proper-motion study, which results in a sample of 90 stars with brightness ranging from K = 9-17 mag and two-dimensional velocities as large as 1400±100 km.s–1. Compared to earlier work ((ref???)Eckart et al. 1997; (ref???)Genzel et al. 1997), the source confusion is reduced by a factor of 9, the number of stars with proper-motion measurement in the central 25 arcsec2 of our Galaxy is doubled, and the accuracy of the velocity measurements in the central 1 arcsec2 is improved by a factor of 4. The peaks of both the stellar surface density and the velocity dispersion are consistent with the position of the unusual radio source and black hole candidate Sgr A*, which suggests that Sgr A* is coincident (±0".1) with the dynamical center of the Galaxy. As a function of distance from Sgr A*, the velocity dispersion displays a falloff well-fitted by Keplerian motion (σv ∼ r–0.5±0.1) about a central dark mass of 2.6±0.2x106 M☉ confined to a volume of at most 10–6 pc3, which is consistent with earlier results. Although uncertainties in the measurements mathematically allow for the matter to be distributed over this volume as a cluster, no realistic cluster is physically tenable. Thus, independent of the presence of Sgr A*, the large inferred central density of at least 1012 M☉ pc–3, which exceeds the volume-averaged mass densities found at the center of any other galaxy, leads us to the conclusion that our Galaxy harbors a massive central black hole.
Black Hole Physics - Galaxy: Center - Galaxy: Kinematics and Dynamics - Infrared: Stars - Stars: Kinematics - Techniques: Image Processing
Table 1: [GKM98] S0-NN (Nos S0-1 to S0-15), [GKM98] S1-NN (Nos S1-1 to S1-15, [GKM98] S2-NN (Nos S2-1 to S2-32), [GKM98] S3-NN (Nos S3-1 to S3-13), [GKM98] S4-N (Nos S4-1 to S4-5).
cross-id.: WNN = [GEO97] WNN, SNN = [EG97] SNN, NNA or NNWW = GCIRS NNA or NNWW
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