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High-resolution VLA images of the Galactic Centre at 2-cm wavelength with large dynamic range

Abstract

THE existence of a black hole at the centre of our galaxy was proposed by Lynden-Bell and Rees1, and the later discovery of a bright compact radio source (SgrA*) at the Galactic Centre2 suggested the presence of a central exciting source3. Recently, Yusef-Zadeh et al.4 reported faint extended radio structures (the 'satellite radio features') which they interpreted as thermally emitting blobs of plasma physically associated with Sgr A*. These puzzling features could be taken as evidence for an outflowing wind from Sgr A*/IRS16 (a complex infrared source), but there was also a suspicion that they might be instrumental artefacts. We have re-observed the Galactic Centre using the Very Large Array, obtaining images at a wavelength of 2 cm with resolution of 0.1 arcsec (0.005 pc). The r.m.s. noise of 70 μJy per beam, with a dynamic range of 22,000:1, is comparable to that of ref. 4, but the new structures reported in ref. 4 do not appear in our observations. We discuss several ways that low-level artefacts near Sgr A* might have been generated. We also confirm the presence of a plume of emission 1 arcsec southwest of Sgr A*.

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Zhao, JH., Goss, W., Lo, K. et al. High-resolution VLA images of the Galactic Centre at 2-cm wavelength with large dynamic range. Nature 354, 46–48 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1038/354046a0

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