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SOFIA/FORCAST Galactic Center Legacy Survey: Overview

Hankins, Matthew J. and Lau, Ryan M. and Radomski, James T. and Cotera, Angela S. and Morris, Mark R. and Mills, Elisabeth A. C. and Walker, Daniel L. and Barnes, Ashley T. and Simpson, Janet P. and Herter, Terry L. and Longmore, Steven N. and Bally, John and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Sabha, Nadeen B. and García-Marin, Macarena (2020) SOFIA/FORCAST Galactic Center Legacy Survey: Overview. Astrophysical Journal, 894 (1). Art. No. 55. ISSN 1538-4357. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab7c5d.

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The Galactic Center contains some of the most extreme conditions for star formation in our Galaxy, as well as many other phenomena that are unique to this region. Given our relative proximity to the Galactic Center, we are able to study details of physical processes to a level that is simply not yet possible for more distant galaxies, yielding an otherwise inaccessible view of the nuclear region of a galaxy. We recently carried out a targeted imaging survey of mid-infrared bright portions of the Galactic Center at 25 and 37 μm using the FORCAST instrument on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). This survey was one of the inaugural Legacy Programs from SOFIA cycle 7, observing a total area of 403 arcmin2 (2180 pc²), including the Sgr A, B, and C complexes. Here we present an overview of the survey strategy, observations, and data reduction as an accompaniment to the initial public release of the survey data. We discuss interesting regions and features within the data, including extended features near the circumnuclear disk, structures in the Arched Filaments and Sickle H II regions, and signs of embedded star formation in Sgr B2 and Sgr C. We also feature a handful of less well studied mid-infrared sources located between Sgr A and Sgr C that could be sites of relatively isolated star formation activity. Last, we discuss plans for subsequent publications and future data releases from the survey.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Hankins, Matthew J.0000-0001-9315-8437
Morris, Mark R.0000-0002-6753-2066
Herter, Terry L.0000-0002-3856-8385
Bally, John0000-0001-8135-6612
Kasliwal, Mansi M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Additional Information:© 2020 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2020 January 5; revised 2020 February 28; accepted 2020 March 2; published 2020 May 5. We thank the anonymous referee for their comments that improved the quality of this paper. Additionally, we thank the USRA Science and Mission Ops teams and the entire SOFIA staff for making this survey possible. In particular, we thank Mike Gordon and Jim De Buizer, who helped to support our observations. Additionally, we thank the many people who have worked on FORCAST over the years, including but not limited to George Gull, Justin Schoenwald, Chuck Henderson, Joe Adams, and Andrew Helton. Financial support for this work was provided by NASA through award number NNA17BF53C issued by USRA. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. AST-1813765. A.T.B. would like to acknowledge the funding provided from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 726384). This work is based on observations made with the NASA/DLR Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). SOFIA science mission operations are conducted jointly by the Universities Space Research Association, Inc. (USRA) under NASA contract NAS2-97001, and the Deutsches SOFIA Institut (DSI) under DLR contract 50 OK 0901. Financial support for FORCAST was provided by NASA through award 8500-98-014 issued by USRA. This work made use of data products from the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. Additionally, this research made use of data products from the Midcourse Space Experiment. Processing of the data was funded by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization with additional support from NASA Office of Space Science. This research has also made use of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Finally, this research has also made use of the VizieR catalog access tool, CDS, Strasbourg, France. The original description of the VizieR service was published in Ochsenbein et al. (2000).
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Research Council (ERC)726384
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)50 OK 0901
Subject Keywords:H II regions; Galactic center ; Star formation ; Star-forming regions
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: H II regions (694); Galactic center (565); Star formation (1569); Star forming regions (1565)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200311-105356721
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Matthew J. Hankins et al 2020 ApJ 894 55
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101851
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:11 Mar 2020 18:53
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:06

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