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An analytical description of the disruption of star clusters in tidal fields with an application to Galactic open clusters

Lamers, H, Gieles, M, Bastian, N, Baumgardt, H, Kharchenko, N and Zwart, SP (2005) An analytical description of the disruption of star clusters in tidal fields with an application to Galactic open clusters

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Abstract

We present a simple analytical description of the disruption of star clusters in a tidal field, which agrees excellently with detailed N-body simulations. The analytic expression can be used to predict the mass and age histograms of surviving clusters for any cluster initial mass function and any cluster formation history. The method is applied to open clusters in the solar neighbourhood, based on the new cluster sample of Kharchenko et al. From a comparison between the observed and predicted age distributions in the age range between 10 Myr to 3 Gyr we find the following results: (1) The disruption time of a 10^4 M_sun cluster in the solar neighbourhood is about 1.3+/-0.5 Gyr. This is a factor 5 shorter than derived from N-body simulations of clusters in the tidal field of the galaxy. (2) The present starformation rate in bound clusters within 600 pc from the Sun is 5.9+/-0.8 * 10^2 M_sun / Myr, which corresponds to a surface star formation rate in bound clusters of 5.2+/-0.7 10^(-10) M_sun/yr/pc^2. (3) The age distribution of open clusters shows a bump between 0.26 and 0.6 Gyr when the cluster formation rate was 2.5 times higher than before and after. (4) The present star formation rate in bound clusters is half as small as that derived from the study of embedded clusters. The difference suggests that half of the clusters in the solar neighbourhood become unbound within 10 Myr. (5) The most massive clusters within 600 pc had an initial mass of 3*10^4 M_sun. This is in agreement with the statistically expected value based on a cluster initial mass function with a slope of -2, even if the physical upper mass limit is as high as 10^6 M_sun.

Item Type: Article
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Lamers, HUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Gieles, Mm.gieles@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Bastian, NUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Baumgardt, HUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Kharchenko, NUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Zwart, SPUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 27 May 2005
Identification Number : https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20042241
Uncontrolled Keywords : astro-ph, astro-ph
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 12:39
Last Modified : 17 May 2017 15:05
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/836247

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