The Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey: λ = 1.1 and 0.35 mm dust continuum emission in the Galactic center region

John Bally, James Aguirre, Cara Battersby, Eric Todd Bradley, Claudia Cyganowski, Darren Dowell, Meredith Drosback, Miranda K. Dunham, Neal J. Evans, Adam Ginsburg, Jason Glenn, Paul Harvey, Elisabeth Mills, Manuel Merello, Erik Rosolowsky, Wayne Schlingman, Yancy L. Shirley, Guy S. Stringfellow, Josh Walawender, Jonathan Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


The Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey (BGPS) data for a 6 deg2 region of the Galactic plane containing the Galactic center are analyzed and compared to infrared and radio continuum data. The BGPS 1.1 mm emission consists of clumps interconnected by a network of fainter filaments surrounding cavities, a few of which are filled with diffuse near-IR emission indicating the presence of warm dust or with radio continuum characteristic of Hii regions or supernova remnants. New 350 μm images of the environments of the two brightest regions, Sgr A and B, are presented. Sgr B2 is the brightest millimeter-emitting clump in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ) and may be forming the closest analog to a super star cluster in the Galaxy. The CMZ contains the highest concentration of millimeter- and submillimeter-emitting dense clumps in the Galaxy. Most 1.1 mm features at positive longitudes are seen in silhouette against the 3.6-24 μm background observed by the Spitzer Space Telescope. However, only a few clumps at negative longitudes are seen in absorption, confirming the hypothesis that positive longitude clumps in the CMZ tend to be on the near side of the Galactic center, consistent with the suspected orientation of the central bar in our Galaxy. Some 1.1 mm cloud surfaces are seen in emission at 8 μm, presumably due to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. A ∼0°.2 (∼30 pc) diameter cavity and infrared bubble between l ≈ 0°.0 and 0°.2 surround the Arches and Quintuplet clusters and Sgr A. The bubble contains several clumpy dust filaments that point toward Sgr A*; its potential role in their formation is explored. Bania's Clump 2, a feature near l = 3°-3. ° 5 which exhibits extremely broad molecular emission lines (ΔV >150 km s-1), contains dozens of 1.1 mm clumps. These clumps are deficient in near- and mid-infrared emission in the Spitzer images when compared to both the inner Galactic plane and the CMZ. Thus, Bania's Clump 2 is either inefficient in forming stars or is in a pre-stellar phase of clump evolution. The Bolocat catalog of 1.1 mm clumps contains 1428 entries in the Galactic center between l = 358. ° 5 and l = 4. ° 5 of which about 80% are likely to be within about 500 pc of the center. The mass spectrum above about 80M can be described by a power-law ΔN/ΔM = N0M-2.14(+0.1,-0.4). The power-law index is somewhat sensitive to systematic grain temperature variations, may be highly biased by source confusion, and is very sensitive to the spatial filtering inherent in the data acquisition and reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-163
Number of pages27
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 20 2010


  • Dust
  • Extinction
  • Galaxy: center
  • ISM: clouds
  • Stars: formation
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey: λ = 1.1 and 0.35 mm dust continuum emission in the Galactic center region'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • The Bolocam Galactic Plane Survey (BGPS)

    Bally, J. (Creator), Aguirre, J. (Creator), Battersby, C. (Creator), Todd Bradley, E. (Contributor), Cyganowski, C. (Creator), Dowell, D. (Creator), Drosback, M. (Creator), Dunham, M. K. (Creator), Evans II, N. J. (Contributor), Ginsburg, A. (Creator), Glenn, J. (Creator), Harvey, P. (Creator), Mills, E. (Creator), Merello, M. (Creator), Rosolowsky, E. (Creator), Schlingman, W. (Creator), Shirley, Y. L. (Creator), Stringfellow, G. S. (Creator), Walawender, J. (Creator), Williams, J. (Creator) & Bally, J. (Creator), Centre de Donnees Strasbourg (CDS), 2012


Cite this