S.F. Portegies Zwart
- Core Formation by a Population of Massive Remnants
- Astrophysical Journal
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
Informatics Institute (IVI)
Core radii of globular clusters in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds show an increasing trend with age. We propose that this trend is a dynamical effect resulting from the accumulation of massive stars and stellar-mass black holes at the cluster centers. The black holes are remnants of stars with initial masses exceeding ~20-25 Msolar as their orbits decay by dynamical friction, they heat the stellar background and create a core. Using analytical estimates and N-body experiments, we show that the sizes of the cores so produced and their growth rates are consistent with what is observed. We propose that this mechanism is responsible for the formation of cores in all globular clusters and possibly in other systems as well.
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