Journal Article

Stellar collisions in accreting protoclusters: a Monte Carlo dynamical study

O. Davis, C. J. Clarke and M. Freitag

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 407, issue 1, pages 381-389
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.16902.x
Stellar collisions in accreting protoclusters: a Monte Carlo dynamical study

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We explore the behaviour of accreting protoclusters with a Monte Carlo dynamical code in order to evaluate the relative roles of accretion, two-body relaxation and stellar collisions in the cluster evolution. We corroborate the suggestion of Clarke and Bonnell that the number of stellar collisions should scale as (independent of other cluster parameters, where N is the number of stars in the cluster and the rate of mass accretion) and thus strengthen the argument that stellar collisions are more likely in populous (large N) clusters. We however find that the estimates of Clarke and Bonnell were pessimistic in the sense that we find that more than 99 per cent of the stellar collisions occur within the post-adiabatic regime as the cluster evolves towards core collapse, driven by a combination of accretion and two-body relaxation. We discuss how the inclusion of binaries may reduce the number of collisions through the reversal of core collapse but also note that it opens up another collisional channel involving the merger of stars within hard binaries; future N-body simulations are however required in order to explore this issue.

Keywords: celestial mechanics; stars: formation; galaxies: star clusters: general

Journal Article.  7696 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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