Mass distribution in the galactic centre

Abstract

New infrared and submillimetre spectroscopic measurements of the gas dynamics in the central 10 pc of our Galaxy make a convincing case that the mass distribution at the centre of the Galaxy is more concentrated than a spherical isothermal stellar cluster. The measurements fit a point mass of 4 × l06 M but are also consistent with a cluster where stellar density decreases with radius (R) at least as fast as R−2.7, or a combination of a point mass and a stellar cluster. The dynamical information combined with previous 2-µm observations favour a large point mass, which is presumably a massive black hole.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Serabyn, E. & Lacy, J. H. Bull. Am. astr. Soc. 16, 980 (1984); Astrophys. J. (in the press).

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Genzel, R., Watson, D. M., Crawford, M. K. & Townes, C. H. Astrophys. J. (submitted).

  3. 3

    Lugten, J. B., Crawford, M. K., Genzel, R. & Townes, C. H. Astrophys. J. (submitted).

  4. 4

    Harris, A., Jaffe, D. T., Silber, M. & Genzel, R. Bull. Am. astr. Soc. 16, 936 (1984); Astrophys. J. Lett. (submitted).

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Ekers, R. D., van Gorkom, J. H., Schwarz, U. J. & Goss, W. M. Astr. astrophys. 122, 143–150 (1983).

    ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Brown, R. L., Johnston, K. J. & Lo, K. Y. Astrophys. J. 250, 155–159 (1981).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Lo, K. Y. & Claussen, M. J. Nature 306, 647–651 (1983).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Balick, B. & Brown, R. L. Astrophys. J. 194, 265–270 (1974).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Lo, K. Y. in The Galactic Center (eds Riegler, G. & Blandford, R. D.) (Am. Inst. Phys. New York, 1974).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Henry, J. P., DePoy, D. L. & Becklin, E. E. Astrophys. J. 285, L27–L30 (1984).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Storey, J. W. V. & Allen, D. A. Mon. Not. R, astr. Soc. 204, 1153–1161 (1984).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Hall, D. N. B., Kleinmann, S. G. & Scoville, N. Z. Astrophys. J. Lett. 260, L53–L57 (1982).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Geballe, T.R. et al. Astrophys. J. 284, 118–125 (1984).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Lacy, J. H., Townes, C. H., Geballe, T. R. & Hollenbach, D. J. Astrophys. J. 241, 132–146 (1980).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    van Gorkom, J. H., Schwarz, U. J. & Bregman, J. D. IAU Symp. No. 106 (1984).

  16. 16

    Becklin, E. E., Gatley, I. & Werner, M. W. Astrophys. J. 258, 135–142 (1982).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Genzel, R. et al. Astrophys. J. 276, 551–559 (1984).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Gatley, I., Jones, T. J., Hyland, A. R., Beattie, D. H. & Lee, T. J. Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 210, 565–575 (1984).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Liszt, H. S., van de Hulst, J. M., Burton, W. B. & Ondrechen, M. P. Astr. astrophys. 126, 341–351 (1983).

    ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Serabyn, E. thesis, Univ. Calif., Berkeley (1984).

  21. 21

    King, I. R. Q. Jl R. astr. Soc. 22, 227–243 (1981).

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  22. 22

    Newell, B., DaCosta, G. S. & Norris, J. Astrophys. J. Lett. 208, L55–L59 (1976).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Becklin, E. E. & Neugebauer, G. Astrophys. J. 151, 145–161 (1968).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Allen, D. A., Hyland, A. R. & Jones, T. J. Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 204, 1145–1152 (1984).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25

    Bahcall, J. N. & Wolf, R. A. Astrophys. J. 209, 214–232 (1976).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Quinn, P. J. & Sussman, G. J. preprint, Cal. Inst. Technology (1984).

  27. 27

    Lacy, J. H., Townes, C. H. & Hollenbach, D. J. Astrophys. J. 262, 120–134 (1982).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28

    Townes, C. H., Lacy, J. H., Geballe, T. R. & Hollenbach, D. J. Nature 301, 661–666 (1983).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Crawford, M., Genzel, R., Harris, A. et al. Mass distribution in the galactic centre. Nature 315, 467–470 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1038/315467a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.