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    We present an overview and data release of the spectral line component of the SMA Large Program, CMZoom. CMZoom observed 12CO (2–1), 13CO (2–1), and C18O (2–1), three transitions of H2CO, several transitions of CH3OH, two transitions of OCS, and single transitions of SiO and SO within gas above a column density of N(H2) ≥ 1023 cm−2 in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ; inner few hundred pc of the Galaxy). We extract spectra from all compact 1.3 mm CMZoom continuum sources and fit line profiles to the spectra. We use the fit results from the H2CO 3(0, 3)–2(0, 2) transition to determine the source kinematic properties. We find ∼90 per cent of the total mass of CMZoom sources have reliable kinematics. Only four compact continuum sources are formally self-gravitating. The remainder are consistent with being in hydrostatic equilibrium assuming that they are confined by the high external pressure in the CMZ. We find only two convincing proto-stellar outflows, ruling out a previously undetected population of very massive, actively accreting YSOs with strong outflows. Finally, despite having sufficient sensitivity and resolution to detect high-velocity compact clouds (HVCCs), which have been claimed as evidence for intermediate mass black holes interacting with molecular gas clouds, we find no suchmore »objects across the large survey area.

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  2. Abstract CMZoom survey observations with the Submillimeter Array are analyzed to describe the virial equilibrium (VE) and star-forming potential of 755 clumps in 22 clouds in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ) of the Milky Way. In each cloud, nearly all clumps follow the column density–mass trend N ∝ M s , where s = 0.38 ± 0.03 is near the pressure-bounded limit s p = 1/3. This trend is expected when gravitationally unbound clumps in VE have similar velocity dispersion and external pressure. Nine of these clouds also harbor one or two distinctly more massive clumps. These properties allow a VE model of bound and unbound clumps in each cloud, where the most massive clump has the VE critical mass. These models indicate that 213 clumps have velocity dispersion 1–2 km s −1 , mean external pressure (0.5–4) × 10 8 cm −3 K, bound clump fraction 0.06, and typical virial parameter α = 4–15. These mostly unbound clumps may be in VE with their turbulent cloud pressure, possibly driven by inflow from the Galactic bar. In contrast, most Sgr B2 clumps are bound according to their associated sources and N – M trends. When the CMZ clumps are combinedmore »into mass distributions, their typical power-law slope is analyzed with a model of stopped accretion. It also indicates that most clumps are unbound and cannot grow significantly, due to their similar timescales of accretion and dispersal, ∼0.2 Myr. Thus, virial and dynamical analyses of the most extensive clump census available indicate that star formation in the CMZ may be suppressed by a significant deficit of gravitationally bound clumps.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  3. Abstract The Galactic bar plays a critical role in the evolution of the Milky Way’s Central Molecular Zone (CMZ), driving gas toward the Galactic Center via gas flows known as dust lanes. To explore the interaction between the CMZ and the dust lanes, we run hydrodynamic simulations in arepo , modeling the potential of the Milky Way’s bar in the absence of gas self-gravity and star formation physics, and we study the flows of mass using Monte Carlo tracer particles. We estimate the efficiency of the inflow via the dust lanes, finding that only about a third (30% ± 12%) of the dust lanes’ mass initially accretes onto the CMZ, while the rest overshoots and accretes later. Given observational estimates of the amount of gas within the Milky Way’s dust lanes, this suggests that the true total inflow rate onto the CMZ is 0.8 ± 0.6 M ⊙ yr −1 . Clouds in this simulated CMZ have sudden peaks in their average density near the apocenter, where they undergo violent collisions with inflowing material. While these clouds tend to counter-rotate due to shear, co-rotating clouds occasionally occur due to the injection of momentum from collisions with inflowing material (∼52% aremore »strongly counter-rotating, and ∼7% are strongly co-rotating of the 44 cloud sample). We investigate the formation and evolution of these clouds, finding that they are fed by many discrete inflow events, providing a consistent source of gas to CMZ clouds even as they collapse and form stars.« less
  4. ABSTRACT We use hydrodynamical simulations to study the Milky Way’s central molecular zone (CMZ). The simulations include a non-equilibrium chemical network, the gas self-gravity, star formation, and supernova feedback. We resolve the structure of the interstellar medium at sub-parsec resolution while also capturing the interaction between the CMZ and the bar-driven large-scale flow out to $R\sim 5\, {\rm kpc}$. Our main findings are as follows: (1) The distinction between inner (R ≲ 120 pc) and outer (120 ≲ R ≲ 450 pc) CMZ that is sometimes proposed in the literature is unnecessary. Instead, the CMZ is best described as single structure, namely a star-forming ring with outer radius R ≃ 200 pc which includes the 1.3° complex and which is directly interacting with the dust lanes that mediate the bar-driven inflow. (2) This accretion can induce a significant tilt of the CMZ out of the plane. A tilted CMZ might provide an alternative explanation to the ∞-shaped structure identified in Herschel data by Molinari et al. (3) The bar in our simulation efficiently drives an inflow from the Galactic disc (R ≃ 3 kpc) down to the CMZ (R ≃ 200 pc) of the order of $1\rm \, M_\odot \, yr^{-1}$, consistent with observational determinations. (4) Supernova feedback canmore »drive an inflow from the CMZ inwards towards the circumnuclear disc of the order of ${\sim}0.03\, \rm M_\odot \, yr^{-1}$. (5) We give a new interpretation for the 3D placement of the 20 and 50 km s−1 clouds, according to which they are close (R ≲ 30 pc) to the Galactic Centre, but are also connected to the larger scale streams at R ≳ 100 pc.« less
  5. Abstract The Milky Way’s central molecular zone (CMZ) has emerged in recent years as a unique laboratory for the study of star formation. Here we use the simulations presented in Tress et al. 2020 to investigate star formation in the CMZ. These simulations resolve the structure of the interstellar medium at sub-parsec resolution while also including the large-scale flow in which the CMZ is embedded. Our main findings are as follows. (1) While most of the star formation happens in the CMZ ring at R ≳ 100 pc, a significant amount also occurs closer to SgrA* at R ≲ 10 pc. (2) Most of the star formation in the CMZ happens downstream of the apocentres, consistent with the “pearls-on-a-string” scenario, and in contrast to the notion that an absolute evolutionary timeline of star formation is triggered by pericentre passage. (3) Within the timescale of our simulations (∼100 Myr), the depletion time of the CMZ is constant within a factor of ∼2. This suggests that variations in the star formation rate are primarily driven by variations in the mass of the CMZ, caused for example by AGN feedback or externally-induced changes in the bar-driven inflow rate, and not by variations in the depletion time. (4)more »We study the trajectories of newly born stars in our simulations. We find several examples that have age and 3D velocity compatible with those of the Arches and Quintuplet clusters. Our simulations suggest that these prominent clusters originated near the collision sites where the bar-driven inflow accretes onto the CMZ, at symmetrical locations with respect to the Galactic centre, and that they have already decoupled from the gas in which they were born.« less
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  8. ABSTRACT Observations of molecular gas near the Galactic Centre (|l| < 10°, |b| < 1°) reveal the presence of a distinct population of enigmatic compact clouds that are characterized by extreme velocity dispersions ($\Delta v \gt 100\, {\rm km\, s^{-1}}$). These extended velocity features are very prominent in the data cubes and dominate the kinematics of molecular gas just outside the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ). The prototypical example of such a cloud is Bania Clump 2. We show that similar features are naturally produced in simulations of gas flow in a realistic barred potential. We analyse the structure of the features obtained in the simulations and use this to interpret the observations. We find that the features arise from collisions between material that has been infalling rapidly along the dust lanes of the Milky Way bar and material that belongs to one of the following two categories: (i) material that has ‘overshot’ after falling down the dust lanes on the opposite side; (ii) material which is part of the CMZ. Both types of collisions involve gas with large differences in the line-of-sight velocities, which is what produces the observed extreme velocity dispersions. Examples of both categories can be identified inmore »the observations. If our interpretation is correct, we are directly witnessing (a) collisions of clouds with relative speeds of $\sim 200\, {\rm km\, s^{-1}}$ and (b) the process of accretion of fresh gas onto the CMZ.« less