Rotating Globular Clusters

Paolo Bianchini, Anna Lisa Varri, G. Bertin, A. Zocchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Internal rotation is thought to play a major role in the dynamics of some globular clusters. However, in only a few cases has internal rotation been studied by the quantitative application of realistic and physically justified global models. Here, we present a dynamical analysis of the photometry and three-dimensional kinematics of ω Cen, 47 Tuc, and M15, by means of a recently introduced family of self-consistent axisymmetric rotating models. The three clusters, characterized by different relaxation conditions, show evidence of differential rotation and deviations from sphericity. The combination of line-of-sight velocities and proper motions allows us to determine their internal dynamics, predict their morphology, and estimate their dynamical distance. The well-relaxed cluster 47 Tuc is interpreted very well by our model; internal rotation is found to explain the observed morphology. For M15, we provide a global model in good agreement with the data, including the central behavior of the rotation profile and the shape of the ellipticity profile. For the partially relaxed cluster ω Cen, the selected model reproduces the complex three-dimensional kinematics; in particular, the observed anisotropy profile, characterized by a transition from isotropy to weakly radial anisotropy and then to tangential anisotropy in the outer parts. The discrepancy found for the steep central gradient in the observed line-of-sight velocity dispersion profile and for the ellipticity profile is ascribed to the condition of only partial relaxation of this cluster and the interplay between rotation and radial anisotropy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number67
Number of pages19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013


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