Dynamical processing of stars and planets through star clusters

Aaron M. Geller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Most stars are born in clustered environments that are far denser than the Solar Neighborhood. Yet, star clusters can be hostile locations, where close stellar encounters can be frequent and can have violent consequences, including direct stellar collisions. Such encounters can dramatically alter stellar and planetary systems, and can produce exotic stars that define new pathways in stellar evolution. Understanding how, and to what extent, such "dynamically processing" occurs in star clusters may be critical for our understanding of the architectures of today's observed stellar and planetary systems, as well as the origins of X-ray sources, blue stragglers, sub-subgiants, and other stellar exotica. In this contribution, I discuss the impacts of living in a star cluster on its inhabitants, through a review of observational and theoretical efforts to study these complex systems. Throughout, I assert that binary stars are intimately linked to both the dynamical evolution of star clusters and the effects that stellar encounters within these environments have on their stellar and planetary populations. I conclude that in order to properly interpret our present and future observations of stars and planets, both in star clusters and the field, and particularly if we attempt to use these observations to inform star and planet formation theory, we must first account for the imprint left by stellar encounters within a clustered birth environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number006
JournalProceedings of Science
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Event16th Frank N. Bash Symposium, BASH 2015 - Austin, United States
Duration: Oct 18 2015Oct 20 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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