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Star Formation and Dynamics in the Galactic Centre

  • Michela MapelliEmail author
  • Alessia Gualandris
Chapter
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 905)

Abstract

The centre of our Galaxy is one of the most studied and yet enigmatic places in the Universe. At a distance of about 8 kpc from our Sun, the Galactic centre (GC) is the ideal environment to study the extreme processes that take place in the vicinity of a supermassive black hole (SMBH). Despite the hostile environment, several tens of early-type stars populate the central parsec of our Galaxy. A fraction of them lie in a thin ring with mild eccentricity and inner radius \(\sim 0.04\) pc, while the S-stars, i.e. the \(\sim 30\) stars closest to the SMBH (\(\lesssim 0.04\) pc), have randomly oriented and highly eccentric orbits. The formation of such early-type stars has been a puzzle for a long time: molecular clouds should be tidally disrupted by the SMBH before they can fragment into stars. We review the main scenarios proposed to explain the formation and the dynamical evolution of the early-type stars in the GC. In particular, we discuss the most popular in situ scenarios (accretion disc fragmentation and molecular cloud disruption) and migration scenarios (star cluster inspiral and Hills mechanism). We focus on the most pressing challenges that must be faced to shed light on the process of star formation in the vicinity of a SMBH.

Keywords

Black Hole Molecular Cloud Proper Motion Semimajor Axis Galactic Centre 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This review is not directly connected with the lectures held by Prof. R. Genzel at the 10th SIGRAV school on ‘Astrophysical black holes’. We would like to thank Prof. R. Genzel, Dr. S. Gillessen, the Organizers of the SIGRAV school and the Editors of this Book for giving us the possibility to write this review. We warmly thank S. Gillessen, H.B. Liu and P. Kroupa for their invaluable comments. MM acknowledges financial support from the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) through grant FIRB 2012 RBFR12PM1F (‘New perspectives on the violent Universe: unveiling the physics of compact objects with joint observations of gravitational waves and electromagnetic radiation’), from INAF through grants PRIN-2011-1 (‘Challenging Ultraluminous X-ray sources: chasing their black holes and formation pathways’) and PRIN-2014-14 (‘Star formation and evolution in galactic nuclei’), and from CONACyT through grant 169554 (‘Nearby and distant spheroids: cutting edge theoretical tools for the analysis of stellar populations’).

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di PadovaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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