- The evolution of the global stellar mass function of star clusters: an analytic description
- Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 433 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
The evolution of the global stellar mass function of star clusters is studied based on a large set of N-body simulations of clusters with a range of initial masses, initial concentrations, in circular or elliptical orbits in different tidal environments. Models with and without initial mass segregation are included. The depletion of low-mass stars in initially Roche-volume (tidal) filling clusters starts typically on a time-scale of the order of the core collapse time. In clusters that are initially underfilling their Roche-volume it takes longer because the clusters have to expand to their tidal radii before dynamical mass-loss becomes important.
We introduce the concept of the differential mass function (DMF), which describes the changes with respect to the initial mass function (IMF). We show that the evolution of the DMF can be described by a set of very simple analytic expressions that are valid for a wide range of initial cluster parameters and for different IMFs. The agreement between this description and the models is very good, except for initially Roche-volume underfilling clusters that are severely mass segregated.
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