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Title: JWST Reveals Widespread CO Ice and Gas Absorption in the Galactic Center Cloud G0.253+0.016

We report JWST NIRCam observations of G0.253+0.016, the molecular cloud in the Central Molecular Zone known as “The Brick,” with the F182M, F187N, F212N, F410M, F405N, and F466N filters. We catalog 56,146 stars detected in all six filters using thecrowdsourcepackage. Stars within and behind The Brick exhibit prodigious absorption in the F466N filter that is produced by a combination of CO ice and gas. In support of this conclusion, and as a general resource, we present models of CO gas and ice and CO2ice in the F466N, F470N, and F410M filters. Both CO gas and ice contribute to the observed stellar colors. We show, however, that CO gas does not absorb the Pfβand Huϵlines in F466N, but that these lines show excess absorption, indicating that CO ice is present and contributes to observed F466N absorption. The most strongly absorbed stars in F466N are extincted by ∼2 mag, corresponding to >80% flux loss. This high observed absorption requires very high column densities of CO, and thus a total CO column that is in tension with standard CO abundance and/or gas-to-dust ratios. This result suggests the CO/H2ratio and dust-to-gas ratio are greater in the Galactic Center than in the Galactic disk. Ice and/or gas absorption is observed even in the cloud outskirts, implying that additional caution is needed when interpreting stellar photometry in filters that overlap with ice bands throughout galactic centers.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
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Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Medium: X Size: Article No. 36
["Article No. 36"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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