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The effect of spiral arm passages on the evolution of stellar clusters

Gieles, M, Athanassoula, E and Zwart, SFP (2007) The effect of spiral arm passages on the evolution of stellar clusters Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc., 376. pp. 809-819.

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We study the effect of spiral arm passages on the evolution of star clusters on planar and circular orbits around the centres of galaxies. Individual passages with different relative velocity (V_drift) and arm width are studied using N-body simulations. When the ratio of the time it takes the cluster to cross the density wave to the crossing time of stars in the cluster is much smaller than one, the energy gain of stars can be predicted accurately in the impulsive approximation. When this ratio is much larger than one, the cluster is heated adiabatically and the net effect of heating is largely damped. For a given duration of the perturbation, this ratio is smaller for stars in the outer parts of the cluster compared to stars in the inner part. The cluster energy gain due to perturbations of various duration as obtained from our N-body simulations is in good agreement with theoretical predictions taking into account the effect of adiabatic damping. Perturbations by the broad stellar component of the spiral arms on a cluster are in the adiabatic regime and, therefore, hardly contribute to the energy gain and mass loss of the cluster. We consider the effect of crossings through the high density shocked gas in the spiral arms, which result in a more impulsive compression of the cluster. The time scale of disruption is shortest at ~0.8-0.9 R_CR since there V_drift is low. This location can be applicable to the solar neighbourhood. In addition, the four-armed spiral pattern of the Milky Way makes spiral arms contribute more to the disruption of clusters than in a similar but two-armed galaxy. Still, the disruption time due to spiral arm perturbations there is about an order of magnitude higher than what is observed for the solar neighbourhood.[ABRIDGED]

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Athanassoula, E
Zwart, SFP
Date : 5 January 2007
DOI : 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2007.11477.x
Uncontrolled Keywords : astro-ph, astro-ph
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 12:40
Last Modified : 24 Jan 2020 22:38

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