Massive Stars and The Creation of our Galactic Center

Donald F. Figer1

1 STScI, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218
JHU, 34th and Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

E-mail contact: figer@stsci.edu

Our Galactic Center hosts over 10% of the known massive stars in the Galaxy, the majority of which are located in three particularly massive clusters that formed within the past 5 Myr. While these clusters are extraordinary, their formation repesents about half of the total inferred star formation rate in the Galactic Center. There is mounting evidence that the clusters are just present-day examples of the hundreds of such similar clusters that must have been created in the past, and whose stars now comprise the bulk of all stars seen in the region. I discuss the massive stellar content in the Galactic Center and present a new analysis that suggests that effects of continuous star formation in the Galactic Center can be seen in the observed luminosity functions of newly-obtained HST/NICMOS and Gemini/AO data.