The Structural and Kinematic Evolution of Central Star Clusters in Dwarf Galaxies and Their Dependence on Dark Matter Halo Profiles

Through a suite of direct N-body simulations, we explore how the structural and kinematic evolution of a star cluster located at the center of a dwarf galaxy is affected by the shape of its host's dark matter density profile. The stronger central tidal fields of cuspier halos minimize the cluster's ability to expand in response to mass loss due to stellar evolution during its early evolutionary stages and during its subsequent long-term evolution driven by two-body relaxation. Hence clusters evolving in cuspier dark matter halos are characterized by more compact sizes, higher velocity dispersions and remain approximately isotropic at all clustercentric distances. Conversely, clusters in cored halos can expand more and develop a velocity distribution profile that becomes increasingly radially anisotropic at larger clustercentric distances. Finally, the larger velocity dispersion of clusters evolving in cuspier dark matter profiles results in them having longer relaxation times. Hence clusters in cuspy galaxies relax at a slower rate and, consequently, they are both less mass segregated and farther from complete energy equipartition than cluster's in cored galaxies. Application of this work to observations allows for star clusters to be used as tools to measure the distribution of dark matter in dwarf galaxies and to distinguish isolated star clusters from ultra-faint dwarf galaxies.

Publication Date:
Jul 06 2018
Date Submitted:
Jun 28 2019
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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 Record created 2019-06-28, last modified 2019-08-06

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