Journal Article

Surviving infant mortality in the hierarchical merging scenario

R. Smith, M. Fellhauer, S. Goodwin and P. Assmann

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 414, issue 4, pages 3036-3043
Published in print July 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Surviving infant mortality in the hierarchical merging scenario

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We examine the effects of gas expulsion on initially substructured and out-of-equilibrium star clusters. We perform N-body simulations of the evolution of star clusters in a static background potential before removing that potential to model gas expulsion. We find that the initial star formation efficiency is not a good measure of the survivability of star clusters. This is because the stellar distribution can change significantly, causing a large change in the relative importance of the stellar and gas potentials. We find that the initial stellar distribution and velocity dispersion are far more important parameters than the initial star formation efficiency and that clusters with very low star formation efficiencies can survive gas expulsion. We suggest that it is variations in cluster initial conditions rather than in their star formation efficiencies that cause some clusters to be destroyed while a few survive.

Keywords: methods: numerical; stars: formation; galaxies: star clusters: general

Journal Article.  5478 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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