Million-body star cluster simulations: Comparisons between Monte Carlo and direct N-body

Carl L. Rodriguez*, Meagan Morscher, Long Wang, Sourav Chatterjee, Frederic A. Rasio, Rainer Spurzem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


We present the first detailed comparison between million-body globular cluster simulations computed with a Hénon-type Monte Carlo code, CMC, and a direct N-body code, NBODY6++GPU. Both simulations start from an identical cluster model with 106 particles, and include all of the relevant physics needed to treat the system in a highly realistic way. With the two codes 'frozen' (no fine-tuning of any free parameters or internal algorithms of the codes) we find good agreement in the overall evolution of the twomodels. Furthermore, we find that in bothmodels, large numbers of stellar-mass black holes (> 1000) are retained for 12 Gyr. Thus, the very accurate direct N-body approach confirms recent predictions that black holes can be retained in present-day, old globular clusters.We find only minor disagreements between the two models and attribute these to the small-N dynamics driving the evolution of the cluster core for which the Monte Carlo assumptions are less ideal. Based on the overwhelming general agreement between the two models computed using these vastly different techniques, we conclude that our Monte Carlo approach, which is more approximate, but dramatically faster compared to the direct N-body, is capable of producing an accurate description of the long-term evolution of massive globular clusters even when the clusters contain large populations of stellar-mass black holes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2109-2118
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Binaries: close
  • Globular clusters: general
  • Gravitationalwaves
  • Methods: numerical
  • Stars: kinematics and dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Million-body star cluster simulations: Comparisons between Monte Carlo and direct N-body'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this