The central parsec of the milky way at 3.8 micrometer


The central part of the Milky Way is a unique environment where an interplay of different astrophysical phenomena can be studied, starting from the physics of the interstellar medium, stellar physics and star formation, to high energetic processes associated with the accretion onto the supermassive black hole Sgr A*. In this thesis I focus onto the central parsec of the Milky Way, observed at 3.8 micrometer (L'-band) during several epochs from 2002 to 2007. This particular wavelength is interesting because one can observe the (very dense) Galactic stellar nuclear cluster, as well as the thermal component of the interstellar medium which is not visible at shorter near-infrared wavelengths. Our images revealed a high number of very narrow filamentary structures associated with the streamers of gas and dust (called mini-spiral), and sometimes also with stars. We also detected several stellar sources that are barely observable at shorter wavelengths, but well defined in the dust-dominated L'-band. The goal of this thesis was to use multi-epoch observations in order to measure motions of filamentary structures, as well as of those very red stars. The proper motion analysis allows us to come a step further in understanding the real nature of these enigmatic sources. The high-resolution observations were obtained with the NAOS/CONICA Adaptive Optics system at the ESO Very Large Telescope at Paranal, Chile. The first part of the thesis deals with the narrow dust filaments. The analysis of their morphology and proper motions shows that they are (i) probably not due to a projectional effect and (ii) are influenced by other forces than just the gravitational force of the central black hole...
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