Meet the Milky Way Laboratory’s New Unofficial Mascot

While pursuing her research project to map out and analyze the minimum spanning trees (MSTs) of clouds in the Galactic Center using CMZoom Data, MW Lab undergraduate student Stefania Schuler, supervised by Jen Wallace, made an intriguing discovery. G0.316-0.201 is the designation of an isolated high-mass star-forming region in the CMZoom survey and it is comprised of 12 cores in the robust CMZoom Catalog (Hatchfield et al. 2020), but was found to likely be a foreground object not in the CMZ by Battersby et al. (2020). However, the particular shape of the Minimum Spanning Tree produced for this clump (reminiscent of a charging centaur) has caused G0.316-0.201 to be affectionately nick-named ‘Jeff’ and declared the Milky Way Lab’s unofficial (but much beloved) mascot.
An image of the minimum spanning tree of the cloud, which resembles a charging centaur.
An image of the minimum spanning tree of the G0.316-0.201 star-forming region from the CMZoom survey – clearly resembling a charging centaur, affectionately nicknamed “Jeff,” and named the Milky Way Lab’s unofficial mascot.


For the minimum spanning tree in this case, a sparse matrix (mostly comprised of zeros) is first built using the (non-redundant) distances between each core in degrees. The sparse matrix is then reduced with a minimum spanning tree algorithm in python into another matrix which represents the minimum possible ‘path’ (in degrees) between all the cores. This ‘path’ can be represented graphically, which is how Jeff came to be. Jeff has been found to have a core spatial distribution ratio of 0.0697, which indicates a fractal substructure. A preliminary (currently lacking standard deviation) mass-segregation ratio of 0.2778 for Jeff suggests that he is inversely mass-segregated; he is mass-integrated, if you will. The data used have been pulled from the CMZoom Robust Catalog.