Tidal mass loss in star clusters and treatment of escapers in Fokker–Planck models


  • K. Takahashi,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Informational Society Studies, Faculty of Human and Social Studies, Saitama Institute of Technology, 1690 Fusaiji, Fukaya, Saitama 369-0293, Japan
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  • H. Baumgardt

    1. School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
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E-mail: tkoji@sit.ac.jp


This paper presents a new scheme to treat escaping stars in the orbit-averaged Fokker–Planck models of globular star clusters in a galactic tidal field. The existence of a large number of potential escapers, which have energies above the escape energy but are still within the tidal radius, is taken into account in the models. The models allow potential escapers to experience gravitational scatterings before they leave clusters and thus some of them may lose enough energy to be bound again. It is shown that the mass evolution of the Fokker–Planck models is in good agreement with that of N-body models including the full tidal-force field. The mass-loss time does not simply scale with the relaxation time due to the existence of potential escapers; it increases with the number of stars more slowly than the relaxation time, though it tends to be proportional to the relaxation time in the limit of a weak tidal field. The Fokker–Planck models include two parameters: the coefficient γ in the Coulomb logarithm ln (γN) and the coefficient νe controlling the efficiency of the mass loss. The values of these parameters are determined by comparing the Fokker–Planck models with the N-body models. It is found that the parameter set (γ, νe) = (0.11, 7) works well for both single-mass and multimass clusters, but that the parameter set (γ, νe) = (0.02, 40) is another possible choice for multimass clusters.