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Dating the Evaporation of Globular Clusters

20 Jun 2018, 15:05 UTC
Dating the Evaporation of Globular Clusters
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Title: Dating the Tidal Disruption of Globular Clusters with Gaia Data on Their Stellar StreamsAuthors: Sownak Bose, Idan Ginsburg, and Abraham LoebFirst Author’s Institution: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for AstrophysicsStatus: Published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, open access on arXivFigure 1. Tidal forces don’t only have an effect on globular clusters! The dramatic tail of the Tadpole Galaxy (Arp 188) is also the result of a gravitational tug. Credit: NASAThe most ancient stellar populations in our galaxy are being ripped apart. Globular clusters — massive gravitationally bound collections of hundreds of thousands of stars — have occupied the Milky Way halo for billions of years. Studying globular clusters can help us understand not only how our galaxy formed, but also how it has evolved over the history of the universe. As the Milky Way has evolved, its gravitational potential has changed as well — and the changes in our galaxy’s gravitational pull are recorded in the behavior of globular clusters.As the stars in globular clusters interact gravitationally, some gain enough kinetic energy to be ejected from the cluster entirely. The shrinking of globular clusters through this process is called evaporation. When the ejected stars escape the gravitational confines of the cluster, the gravitational ...

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