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THE UNUSUAL GALACTIC CENTER RADIO SOURCE N3

  • Author(s): Ludovici, DA
  • Lang, CC
  • Morris, MR
  • Mutel, R
  • Mills, EAC
  • Toomey, JE
  • Ott, J
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Here, we report on new multi-wavelength radio observations of the unusual point source "N3" that appears to be located in the vicinity of the Galactic Center (GC). VLA observations between 2 and 50 GHz reveal that N3 is a compact and bright source (56 mJy at 10 GHz) with a non-thermal spectrum superimposed upon the non-thermal radio filaments (NTFs) of the Radio Arc. Our highest frequency observations place a strict upper limit of 65 × 28 mas on the size of N3. We compare our observations to those of Yusef-Zadeh & Morris and Lang et al., and conclude that N3 is variable over long timescales. Additionally, we present the detection of a compact molecular cloud located adjacent to N3 in projection. CH3CN, CH3OH, CS, HC3N, HNCO, SiO, SO, and NH3are detected in the cloud, and most transitions have FWHM line widths of ∼20 km s-1. The rotational temperature determined from the metastable NH3transitions ranges from 79 to 183 k depending on the transitions used. We present evidence that this molecular cloud is interacting with N3. After exploring the relationship between the NTFs, molecular cloud, and N3, we conclude that N3 likely lies within the GC. We are able to rule out the H ii region, young supernova, active star, AGN, and micro-quasar hypotheses for N3. While a micro-blazar may provide a viable explanation for N3, additional observations are needed to determine the physical counterpart of this mysterious source.

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