Thermal and dynamical equilibrium in two-component star clusters

Wesley A. Watters*, Kriten J. Joshi, Frederic A. Rasio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


We present the results of Monte Carlo simulations for the dynamical evolution of star clusters containing two stellar populations with individual masses m1 and m2 > m1, and total masses M1 and M2 < M1. We use both King and Plummer model initial conditions, and we perform simulations for a wide range of individual and total mass ratios, m2/m1 and M2/M1. We ignore the effects of binaries, stellar evolution, and the galactic tidal field. The simulations use N = 105 stars and follow the evolution of the clusters until core collapse. We find that the departure from energy equipartition in the core follows approximately the theoretical predictions of Spitzer and Lightman & Fall, and we suggest a more exact condition that is based on our results. We find good agreement with previous results obtained by other methods regarding several important features of the evolution, including the precollapse distribution of heavier stars, the timescale on which equipartition is approached, and the extent to which core collapse is accelerated by a small subpopulation of heavier stars. We briefly discuss the possible implications of our results for the dynamical evolution of primordial black holes and neutron stars in globular clusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-341
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 1
StatePublished - Aug 10 2000


  • Celestial mechanics, stellar dynamics
  • Globular clusters: general
  • Instabilities
  • Methods: n-body simulations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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