The complex kinematics of rotating star clusters in a tidal field

Maria A. Tiongco, Enrico Vesperini, Anna Lisa Varri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We broaden the investigation of the dynamical properties of tidally perturbed, rotating star clusters by relaxing the traditional assumptions of coplanarity, alignment, and synchronicity between the internal and orbital angular velocity vector of their initial conditions. We show that the interplay between the internal evolution of these systems and their interaction with the external tidal field naturally leads to the development of a number of evolutionary features in their three-dimensional velocity space, including a precession and nutation of the global rotation axis and a variation of its orientation with the distance from the cluster centre. In some cases, such a radial variation may manifest itself as a counter-rotation of the outermost regions relative to the inner ones. The projected morphology of these systems is characterized by a non-monotonic ellipticity profile and, depending on the initial inclination of the rotation axis, it may also show a twisting of the projected isodensity contours. These results provide guidance in the identification of non-trivial features which may emerge in upcoming investigations of star cluster kinematics and a dynamical framework to understand some of the complexities already hinted by recent observational studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L86-L90
Number of pages5
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Volume475
Issue number1
Early online date10 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • methods: numerical
  • globular clusters: general

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