The kinematic richness of star clusters - I. Isolated spherical models with primordial anisotropy

Philip G. Breen, Anna Lisa Varri, Douglas C. Heggie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We investigate the dynamical evolution of isolated equal-mass star cluster models by means of direct N-body simulations, primarily focusing on the effects of the presence of primordial anisotropy in the velocity space. We found evidence of the existence of a monotonic relationship between the moment of core collapse and the amount and flavour of anisotropy in the stellar system. Specifically, equilibria characterized by the same initial structural properties (Plummer density profile) and with different degrees of tangentially biased (radially biased) anisotropy, reach core collapse earlier (later) than isotropic models. We interpret this result in light of an accelerated (delayed) phase of the early evolution of collisional stellar systems (`anisotropic-response), which we have characterized both in terms of the evolution of the velocity moments and of a fluid model of two-body relaxation. For the case of the most tangentially anisotropic model, the initial phase of evolution involves a catastrophic collapse of the inner part of the system, which continues until an isotropic velocity distribution is reached. This study represents a first step towards a comprehensive investigation of the role played by kinematic richness in the long-term dynamical evolution of collisional systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2778-2789
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date13 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • methods: numerical
  • globular clusters: general
  • galaxies: star clusters: general


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