Characterizing Infrared Excess Sources in the Galactic Center with Adaptive Optics

Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm

131A Campbell Hall

Breann Sitarski (UCLA)

The nature of G2, the cold emission-line object at the Galactic Center that survived its 2014 closest approach to the supermassive black hole at the center of our Galaxy, has been heatedly debated for the last several years. Its survival means that it most likely has a stellar core. Its large inferred size and cold temperature implies that it may be a black-hole driven binary merger. Using near-infrared imaging and integral field spectroscopy fed through laser guide star adaptive optics systems on the Keck I and II telescopes, we have recently discovered other sources that have similar cold temperatures to G2 and are in close proximity (r < 0.75 arcseconds) to the central supermassive black hole. One particular source, G1, is an object that passed through periapse ~13 years prior to G2, and has often been linked to G2 in the literature due to its similar orbit and Brackett-gamma emission feature. I will explore the connection between these two objects and among other infrared excess sources detected at the very heart of our Galaxy.