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Title: INTERRUPTED STELLAR ENCOUNTERS IN STAR CLUSTERS

Strong encounters between single stars and binaries play a pivotal role in the evolution of star clusters. Such encounters can also dramatically modify the orbital parameters of binaries, exchange partners in and out of binaries, and are a primary contributor to the rate of physical stellar collisions in star clusters. Often, these encounters are studied under the approximation that they happen quickly enough and within a small enough volume to be considered isolated from the rest of the cluster. In this paper, we study the validity of this assumption through the analysis of a large grid of single–binary and binary–binary scattering experiments. For each encounter we evaluate the encounter duration, and compare this with the expected time until another single or binary star will join the encounter. We find that for lower-mass clusters, similar to typical open clusters in our Galaxy, the percent of encounters that will be “interrupted” by an interloping star or binary may be 20%–40% (or higher) in the core, though for typical globular clusters we expect ≲1% of encounters to be interrupted. Thus, the assumption that strong encounters occur in relative isolation breaks down for certain clusters. Instead, many strong encounters develop into more complex “mini-clusters,”more » which must be accounted for in studying, for example, the internal dynamics of star clusters, and the physical stellar collision rate.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 (United States)
  2. Department of Astrophysics, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West and 79th Street, New York, NY 10024 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518912
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 808; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; BINARY STARS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; GALAXIES; MASS; STAR CLUSTERS; STAR EVOLUTION