Neutron star natal kicks and the long-term survival of star clusters

Filippo Contenta, Anna Lisa Varri, Douglas C. Heggie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We investigate the dynamical evolution of a star cluster in an external tidal field by using N-body simulations, with focus on the effects of the presence or absence of neutron star natal velocity kicks. We show that, even if neutron stars typically represent less than 2 per cent of the total bound mass of a star cluster, their primordial kinematic properties may affect the lifetime of the system by up to almost a factor of 4. We interpret this result in the light of two known modes of star cluster dissolution, dominated by either early stellar evolution mass-loss or two-body relaxation. The competition between these effects shapes the mass-loss profile of star clusters, which may either dissolve abruptly (`jumping'), in the pre-core-collapse phase, or gradually (`skiing'), after having reached core collapse.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Volume449
Early online date17 Mar 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • methods: numerical
  • globular clusters: general

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