Effects of Stellar-Mass Black Holes on Massive Star Cluster Evolution

Sourav Chatterjee, Meagan Morscher, Carl L. Rodriguez, Bharat Pattabiraman, Frederic A. Rasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent observations have revealed the existence of stellar mass black hole (BH) candidates in some globular clusters (GC) in the Milky Way and in other galaxies. Given that the detection of BHs is challenging, these detections likely indicate the existence of large populations of BHs in these clusters. This is in direct contrast to the past understanding that at most a handful of BHs may remain in old GCs due to quick mass segregation and rapid mutual dynamical ejection. Modern realistic star-by-star numerical simulations suggest that the retention fraction of BHs is typically much higher than what was previously thought. The BH dynamics near the cluster center leads to dynamical formation of new binaries and dynamical ejections, and acts as a persistent and significant energy source for these clusters. We have started exploring effects of BHs on the global evolution and survival of star clusters. We find that the evolution as well as survival of massive star clusters can critically depend on the details of the initial assumptions related to BH formation physics, such as natal kick distribution, and the initial stellar mass function (IMF). In this article we will present our latest results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-239
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
StatePublished - 2015


  • black hole physics-stellar dynamics-methods: n-body simulations-methods: numerical-globular clusters: general-kinematics and dynamics-galaxies: star clusters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science

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