Matching Globular Cluster Models to Observations

Nicholas Z. Rui*, Kyle Kremer, Newlin C. Weatherford, Sourav Chatterjee, Frederic A. Rasio, Carl L. Rodriguez, Claire S. Ye

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


As ancient, gravitationally bound stellar populations, globular clusters represent abundant, vibrant laboratories, characterized by high frequencies of dynamical interactions, coupled to complex stellar evolution. Using surface brightness and velocity dispersion profiles from the literature, we fit 59 Milky Way globular clusters to dynamical models from the CMC Cluster Catalog. Without performing any interpolation, and without any directed effort to fit any particular cluster, 26 globular clusters are well matched by at least one of our models. We discuss in particular the core-collapsed clusters NGC 6293, NGC 6397, NGC 6681, and NGC 6624, and the non-core-collapsed clusters NGC 288, NGC 4372, and NGC 5897. As NGC 6624 lacks well-fitting snapshots on the main CMC Cluster Catalog, we run six additional models in order to refine the fit. We calculate metrics for mass segregation, explore the production of compact object sources such as millisecond pulsars, cataclysmic variables, low-mass X-ray binaries, and stellar-mass black holes, finding reasonable agreement with observations. In addition, closely mimicking observational cuts, we extract the binary fraction from our models, finding good agreement, except in the dense core regions of core-collapsed clusters. Accompanying this paper are a number of python methods for examining the publicly accessible CMC Cluster Catalog, as well as any other models generated using CMC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 10 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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