Molecular Loops in the Galactic Center: Evidence for Magnetic Flotation

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Science  06 Oct 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5796, pp. 106-109
DOI: 10.1126/science.1130425

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The central few hundred parsecs of the Milky Way host a massive black hole and exhibit very violent gas motion and high temperatures in molecular gas. The origin of these properties has been a mystery for the past four decades. Wide-field imaging of the 12CO (rotational quantum number J = 1 to 0) 2.6-millimeter spectrum has revealed huge loops of dense molecular gas with strong velocity dispersions in the galactic center. We present a magnetic flotation model to explain that the formation of the loops is due to magnetic buoyancy caused by the Parker instability. The model has the potential to offer a coherent explanation for the origin of the violent motion and extensive heating of the molecular gas in the galactic center.

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