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2013ApJ...764..155L - Astrophys. J., 764, 155 (2013/February-3)

Stellar populations in the central 0.5 pc of the galaxy. II. The initial mass function.


Abstract (from CDS):

The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way plays host to a massive, young cluster that may have formed in one of the most inhospitable environments in the Galaxy. We present new measurements of the global properties of this cluster, including the initial mass function (IMF), age, and cluster mass. These results are based on Keck laser-guide-star adaptive optics observations used to identify the young stars and measure their Kp-band luminosity function as presented in Do et al. A Bayesian inference methodology is developed to simultaneously fit the global properties of the cluster utilizing the observations and extensive simulations of synthetic star clusters. We find that the slope of the mass function for this cluster is α = 1.7±0.2, which is steeper than previously reported, but still flatter than the traditional Salpeter slope of 2.35. The age of the cluster is between 2.5 and 5.8 Myr with 95% confidence, which is a younger age than typically adopted but consistent within the uncertainties of past measurements. The exact age of the cluster is difficult to determine since our results show two distinct age solutions (3.9 Myr and 2.8 Myr) due to model degeneracies in the relative number of Wolf-Rayet and OB stars. The total cluster mass is between 14,000 and 37,000 M above 1 Mand it is necessary to include multiple star systems in order to fit the observed luminosity function and the number of observed Wolf-Rayet stars. The new IMF slope measurement is now consistent with X-ray observations indicating a factor of 10 fewer X-ray emitting pre-main-sequence stars than expected when compared with a Salpeter IMF. The young cluster at the Galactic center is one of the few definitive examples of an IMF that deviates significantly from the near-universal IMFs found in the solar neighborhood.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Galaxy: center - infrared: stars - methods: statistical - stars: evolution - stars: luminosity function, mass function - stars: massive

Simbad objects: 8

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