Close stars and an inactive accretion disk in Sgr A*: Eclipses and flares

2016-10-31T15:08:39Z (GMT) by Sergei Nayakshin Rashid Sunyaev
A cold neutral and extremely dim accretion disk may be present as a remnant of a past vigorous activity around the black hole in our Galactic Center (GC). Here we discuss ways to detect such a disk through its interaction with numerous stars present in the central ~0.1 parsec of the Galaxy. The first major effect expected is X-ray and near infrared (NIR) flares arising when stars pass through the disk. The second is eclipses of the stars by the disk. We point out conditions under which the properties of the expected X-ray flares are similar to those recently discovered by Chandra. Since orbits of bright stars are now being precisely measured, the combination of the expected flares and eclipses offers an invaluable tool for constraining the disk density, size, plane and even direction of rotation. The winds of the O-type stars are optically thick to free-free absorption in radio frequencies. If present near Sgr A* core, such powerful stellar winds can modulate and even occult the radio source.

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