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Journal Article

A rapidly evolving region in the Galactic Center: Why S-stars thermalize and more massive stars are missing


Amaro-Seoane,  Pau
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Chen, X., & Amaro-Seoane, P. (2014). A rapidly evolving region in the Galactic Center: Why S-stars thermalize and more massive stars are missing. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 786(2): L14. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/786/2/L14.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-001A-108A-8
The existence of "S-stars" within a distance of 1" from SgrA$^*$ contradicts our understanding of star formation, due to the forbiddingly violent environment. A suggested possibility is that they form far and have been brought in by some fast dynamical process, since they are young. Nonetheless, all conjectured mechanisms either fail to reproduce their eccentricities --without violating their young age-- or cannot explain the problem of "inverse mass segregation": The fact that lighter stars (the S-stars) are closer to SgrA$^*$ and more massive ones, Wolf-Rayet (WR) and O-stars, are farther out. In this Letter we propose that the responsible for both, the distribution of the eccentricities and the paucity of massive stars, is the Kozai-Lidov-{\em like} resonance induced by a sub-parsec disk recently discovered in the Galactic center. Considering that the disk probably extended to smaller radius in the past, we show that in as short as (a few) $10^6$ years, the stars populating the innermost 1" region would redistribute in angular-momentum space and recover the observed "super-thermal" distribution. Meanwhile, WR and O-stars in the same region intermittently attain ample eccentricities that will lead to their tidal disruptions by the central massive black hole. Our results provide new evidences that SgrA$^*$ was powered several millions years ago by an accretion disk as well as by tidal stellar disruptions.