Galactic nuclei often harbor a disproportionately large amount of star formation activity with respect to their surrounding disks. Not coincidentally, the density of molecular material in galactic nuclei is often also much greater than that in disks (Table 1 in Kennicutt 1998). The interplay between rich populations of young stars and dense molecular environments is evident in our own Galactic center, which hosts over 10% of Galactic star formation activity within only <0.1% of the volume of the Galactic disk. Data obtained with the VLA and HST reveal a variety of star forming sites in the Galactic Center, including a substantial population of stars that are formed in very dense and massive clusters, while other stars are formed in somewhat sparsely populated associations of massive stars. Indeed, three of the stellar clusters are the most massive and densest in the Galaxy. In this paper, we discuss the Galactic center environment and its compact young star clusters, and compare them to their counterparts in star forming galactic nuclei, concluding that dense molecular environments and large velocity dispersions combine to alter star formation activity in both cases, particularly as regards massive young clusters. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



Astronomical Society of the Pacific 285 Also archived in: arXiv:astro-ph/0012500 v2 28 Dec 2000 AND "Modes of Star Formation and the Origin of Field Star Populations", Proceedings of SESSION XI: "Properties of Nuclear Star Formation Events" of the MPIA Workshop. Sponsored by Max Planck Society. ASP Conference Series. Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Held at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany: 9-13 October 2000 (Friday 13 October 2000 9:00am). ISBN: 158-38-1128-1Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

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Conference Proceeding

Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)


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