A DYNAMICAL POTENTIAL-DENSITY PAIR FOR STAR CLUSTERS WITH NEARLY ISOTHERMAL INTERIORS

Nicholas C. Stone, Jeremiah P. Ostriker

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14 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a potential-density pair designed to model nearly isothermal star clusters (and similar self-gravitating systems) with a central core and an outer turnover radius, beyond which density falls off as r-4. In the intermediate zone, the profile is similar to that of an isothermal sphere (density ∝ α r-2), somewhat less steep than the King profile, and with the advantage that many dynamical quantities can be written in a simple closed form. We derive new analytic expressions for the cluster binding energy and velocity dispersion, and apply these to create toy models for cluster core collapse and evaporation. We fit our projected surface brightness profiles to observed globular and open clusters, and find that the quality of fit is generally at least as good as that for the surface brightness profiles of King. This model can be used for convenient computation of the dynamics and evolution of globular and nuclear star clusters.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberL28
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume806
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Globular clusters: general
  • Methods: analytical
  • Open clusters and associations: general

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