Evolution of star clusters on eccentric orbits

Maxwell Xu Cai, Mark Gieles, Douglas C. Heggie, Anna Lisa Varri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We study the evolution of star clusters on circular and eccentric orbits using direct N-body simulations. We model clusters with initially N = 8k and 16k single stars of the same mass, orbiting around a point-mass galaxy. For each orbital eccentricity that we consider, we find the apogalactic radius at which the cluster has the same lifetime as the cluster with the same N on a circular orbit. We show that then, the evolution of bound particle number and half-mass radius is approximately independent of eccentricity. Secondly, when we scale our results to orbits with the same semimajor axis, we find that the lifetimes are, to first order, independent of eccentricity. When the results of Baumgardt and Makino for a singular isothermal halo are scaled in the same way, the lifetime is again independent of eccentricity to first order, suggesting that this result is independent of the galactic mass profile. From both sets of simulations, we empirically derive the higher order dependence of the lifetime on eccentricity. Our results serve as benchmark for theoretical studies of the escape rate from clusters on eccentric orbits. Finally, our results can be useful for generative models for cold streams and cluster evolution models that are confined to spherical symmetry and/or time-independent tides, such as Fokker-Planck models, Monte Carlo models, and (fast) semi-analytic models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-602
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume455
Issue number1
Early online date4 Nov 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • methods: numerical
  • galaxies: star clusters: general

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