Institution(s): 1. CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science
Despite their importance, very little is known about the formation of star clusters. An understanding of their formation requires observations of their natal dust and gas well before the onset of star formation. In recent Galactic Plane surveys, one object, G0.253+0.016, stands out as extreme. Identified as a cold, dense, massive molecular clump devoid of prevalent star-formation, it has exactly the properties expected for a clump that may form an Arches-like cluster. Located at a distance of ~8.5 kpc, G0.253+0.016 lies ~100 pc from the Galactic Centre, in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ).
In this talk I will showcase our recent ALMA data of the 90 GHz continuum and line emission toward G0.253+0.016. The data are spectacular reveal a complex network of structures: there is emission on all spatial scales, the morphology of which ranges from small, compact regions to extended, filamentary structures that are seen in both emission and absorption. A statistical analysis of the structure within G0.253+0.016 demonstrates the dominance of turbulence. The talk will summarise our recent results and the emerging picture of cluster formation in the extreme, high-pressure environment of the CMZ that is revealed by the new ALMA data.