Which feedback mechanisms dominate in the high-pressure environment of the Central Molecular Zone?

Ashley T Barnes, Steven N Longmore, James Dale, Mark R. Krumholz, J. M.Diederik Kruijssen, Frank Bigiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Supernovae (SNe) dominate the energy and momentum budget of stellar feedback, but the efficiency with which they couple to the interstellar medium (ISM) depends strongly on how effectively early, pre-SN feedback clears dense gas from star-forming regions. There are observational constraints on the magnitudes and timescales of early stellar feedback in low ISM pressure environments, yet no such constraints exist for more cosmologically typical high ISM pressure environments. In this paper, we determine the mechanisms dominating the expansion of H ii regions as a function of size-scale and evolutionary time within the high-pressure (P/kB ∼ 107 − 8 K cm−3) environment in the inner 100 pc of the Milky Way. We calculate the thermal pressure from the warm ionised (PHII; 104 K) gas, direct radiation pressure (Pdir), and dust processed radiation pressure (PIR). We find that (1) Pdir dominates the expansion on small scales and at early times (0.01-0.1 pc; <0.1 Myr); (2) the expansion is driven by PHII on large scales at later evolutionary stages (>0.1 pc; >1 Myr); (3) during the first ≲ 1 Myr of growth, but not thereafter, either PIR or stellar wind pressure likely make a comparable contribution. Despite the high confining pressure of the environment, natal star-forming gas is efficiently cleared to radii of several pc within ∼ 2 Myr, i.e. before the first SNe explode. This ‘pre-processing’ means that subsequent SNe will explode into low density gas, so their energy and momentum will efficiently couple to the ISM. We find the H ii regions expand to a radius of ∼ 3pc, at which point they have internal pressures equal with the surrounding external pressure. A comparison with H ii regions in lower pressure environments shows that the maximum size of all H ii regions is set by pressure equilibrium with the ambient ISM.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberstaa2719
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Early online date8 Sept 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Sept 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Which feedback mechanisms dominate in the high-pressure environment of the Central Molecular Zone?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this