University of Hertfordshire

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From the same journal

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

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  • staa2719

    Accepted author manuscript, 2.74 MB, PDF document

  • Ashley T Barnes
  • Steven N Longmore
  • James Dale
  • Mark R. Krumholz
  • J. M.Diederik Kruijssen
  • Frank Bigiel
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Original languageEnglish
Article numberstaa2719
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Early online date8 Sep 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Sep 2020


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.


This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Final published version available at

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