Journal Article

High-velocity stars from decay of small stellar systems

L. G. Kiseleva, J. Colin, B. Dauphole and P. Eggleton

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 301, issue 3, pages 759-766
Published in print December 1998 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 1998 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-8711.1998.02043.x
High-velocity stars from decay of small stellar systems

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Abstract

In this paper we present numerical results on the decay of small stellar systems under different initial conditions (multiplicity 3 = N = 10, and various mass spectra, initial velocities and initial configurations). The numerical treatment uses the CHAIN1 code (Mikkola &38; Aarseth). Particular attention is paid to the distribution of high-velocity escapers: we define these as stars with velocity above 30 km s−1. These numerical experiments confirm that small N-body systems are dynamically unstable and produce cascades of escapers in the process of their decay. It is shown that the fraction of stars that escape from small dense stellar systems with an escape velocity greater than 30 km s−1 is ∼1 per cent for all systems treated here. This relatively small fraction must be considered in relation to the rate of star formation in the Galaxy in small groups: this could explain some moderately high-velocity stars observed in the Galactic disc and possibly some young stars with relatively high metallicity in the thick disc.

Keywords: celestial mechanics, stellar dynamics; binaries: close; stars: formation; stars: kinematics; Galaxy: evolution; Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics

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Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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