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The JWST Galactic Center Survey -- A White Paper

Schoedel, R, Longmore, S, Henshaw, J, Ginsburg, A, Bally, J, Feldmeier, A, Hosek, M, Lara, FN, Ciurlo, A, Chevance, M, Kruijssen, JMD, Klessen, R, Ponti, G, Amaro-Seoane, P, Anastasopoulou, K, Anderson, J, Arias, M, Barnes, AT, Battersby, C, Bono, G , Ferres, LB, Bryant, A, Gonzáalez, MC, Cassisi, S, Chaves-Velasquez, L, Conte, F, Ramos, RC, Cotera, A, Crowe, S, Teodoro, ED, Do, T, Eisenhauer, F, Fedriani, R, Friske, JKS, Gadotti, D, Gallart, C, Calvente, TG, Cano, EG, Marín, MG, Gardini, A, Gautam, AK, Ghez, A, Gillessen, S, Gualandris, A, Gutermuth, R, Haggard, D, Hankins, M, Hu, Y, Kauffmann, J, Lau, R, Lazarian, A, Libralato, M, Lu, A, Lu, X, Lu, JR, Luetzgendorf, N, Magorrian, J, Mandel, S, Markoff, S, Arranz, ÁM, Mastrobuono-Battisti, A, Mills, E, Morris, M, Najarro, F, Nandakumar, G, Nataf, D, Neumayer, N, Nishiyama, S, Paré, DM, Petkova, M, Pillai, TGS, Román, MRC, Sabha, N, Bermúdez, JS, Sánchez-Monge, Á, Schultheis, M, Shao, L, Simpson, J, Tan, JC, Thorsbro, B, Torne, P, Valenti, E, Marel, RVD, Verberne, S, Fellenberg, SV, Walker, D, Witzel, G, Xu, S, Yusef-Zadeh, F, Zajaček, M and Zoccali, M (2023) The JWST Galactic Center Survey -- A White Paper. arXiv.

2310.11912v2.pdf - Accepted Version
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The inner hundred parsecs of the Milky Way hosts the nearest supermassive black hole, largest reservoir of dense gas, greatest stellar density, hundreds of massive main and post main sequence stars, and the highest volume density of supernovae in the Galaxy. As the nearest environment in which it is possible to simultaneously observe many of the extreme processes shaping the Universe, it is one of the most well-studied regions in astrophysics. Due to its proximity, we can study the center of our Galaxy on scales down to a few hundred AU, a hundred times better than in similar Local Group galaxies and thousands of times better than in the nearest active galaxies. The Galactic Center (GC) is therefore of outstanding astrophysical interest. However, in spite of intense observational work over the past decades, there are still fundamental things unknown about the GC. JWST has the unique capability to provide us with the necessary, game-changing data. In this White Paper, we advocate for a JWST NIRCam survey that aims at solving central questions, that we have identified as a community: i) the 3D structure and kinematics of gas and stars; ii) ancient star formation and its relation with the overall history of the Milky Way, as well as recent star formation and its implications for the overall energetics of our galaxy's nucleus; and iii) the (non-)universality of star formation and the stellar initial mass function. We advocate for a large-area, multi-epoch, multi-wavelength NIRCam survey of the inner 100\,pc of the Galaxy in the form of a Treasury GO JWST Large Program that is open to the community. We describe how this survey will derive the physical and kinematic properties of ~10,000,000 stars, how this will solve the key unknowns and provide a valuable resource for the community with long-lasting legacy value.

Item Type: Other
Uncontrolled Keywords: astro-ph.GA; astro-ph.GA
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: arXiv
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2023 11:58
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2023 12:02
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/21740
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