Journal Article

Limits on initial mass segregation in young clusters

Nickolas Moeckel and Ian A. Bonnell

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 396, issue 4, pages 1864-1874
Published in print July 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Limits on initial mass segregation in young clusters

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Mass segregation is observed in many star clusters, including several that are less than a few Myr old. Time-scale arguments are frequently used to argue that these clusters must be displaying primordial segregation, because they are too young to be dynamically relaxed. Looking at this argument from the other side, the youth of these clusters and the limited time available to mix spatially distinct populations of stars can provide constraints on the amount of initial segregation that is consistent with current observations. We present n-body experiments testing this idea, and discuss the implications of our results for theories of star formation. For system ages less than a few crossing times, we show that star formation scenarios predicting general primordial mass segregation are inconsistent with observed segregation levels.

Keywords: stellar dynamics; methods: N-body simulations; stars: formation

Journal Article.  7712 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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