Understanding the dynamical state of globular clusters: Core-collapsed versus non-core-collapsed

Sourav Chatterjee*, Stefan Umbreit, John M. Fregeau, Frederic A. Rasio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


We study the dynamical evolution of globular clusters using our Hénon-type Monte Carlo code for stellar dynamics including all relevant physics such as two-body relaxation, single and binary stellar evolution, Galactic tidal stripping and strong interactions such as physical collisions and binary mediated scattering. We compute a large data base of several hundred models starting from broad ranges of initial conditions guided by observations of young and massive star clusters. We show that these initial conditions very naturally lead to present-day clusters with properties including the central density, core radius, half-light radius, half-mass relaxation time and cluster mass that match well with those of the old Galactic globular clusters. In particular, we can naturally reproduce the bimodal distribution in observed core radii separating the 'core-collapsed' versus the 'non-core-collapsed' clusters. We see that the core-collapsed clusters are those that have reached or are about to reach the equilibrium 'binary burning' phase. The non-core-collapsed clusters are still undergoing gravo-thermal contraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2881-2893
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 11 2013


  • General
  • General-galaxies
  • Kinematics and dynamics-globular clusters
  • Numerical-methods
  • Scattering-methods
  • Star clusters
  • Statistical-stars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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