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Lifetimes of tidally limited star clusters with different radii

Gieles, M and Baumgardt, H (2008) Lifetimes of tidally limited star clusters with different radii MNRAS, 2008, 389, L28.

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We study the escape rate, dN/dt, from clusters with different radii in a tidal field using analytical predictions and direct N-body simulations. We find that dN/dt depends on the ratio R=r_h/r_j, where r_h is the half-mass radius and r_j the radius of the zero-velocity surface. For R>0.05, the "tidal regime", there is almost no dependence of dN/dt on R. To first order this is because the fraction of escapers per relaxation time, t_rh, scales approximately as R^1.5, which cancels out the r_h^1.5 term in t_rh. For R<0.05, the "isolated regime", dN/dt scales as R^-1.5. Clusters that start with their initial R, Ri, in the tidal regime dissolve completely in this regime and their t_dis is insensitive to the initial r_h. We predicts that clusters that start with Ri<0.05 always expand to the tidal regime before final dissolution. Their t_dis has a shallower dependence on Ri than what would be expected when t_dis is a constant times t_rh. For realistic values of Ri, the lifetime varies by less than a factor of 1.5 due to changes in Ri. This implies that the "survival" diagram for globular clusters should allow for more small clusters to survive. We note that with our result it is impossible to explain the universal peaked mass function of globular cluster systems by dynamical evolution from a power-law initial mass function, since the peak will be at lower masses in the outer parts of galaxies. Our results finally show that in the tidal regime t_dis scales as N^0.65/w, with w the angular frequency of the cluster in the host galaxy. [ABRIDGED]

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Baumgardt, H
Date : 15 June 2008
DOI : 10.1111/j.1745-3933.2008.00515.x
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 12:39
Last Modified : 24 Jan 2020 22:37

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