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Recent Publications


Sippel, Anna C., Hurley, Jarrod R., 2013. Multiple stellar-mass black holes in globular clusters: theoretical confirmation, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 430, L30.

While tens or hundreds of stellar-remnant black holes (BHs) are expected to form in globular star clusters, it is still unclear how many of those will be retained upon formation, and how many will be ejected through subsequent dynamical interactions. No such BHs have been found in any Milky Way globular cluster until the recent discovery of stellar-mass BHs in the globular cluster M22 (NGC 6656) with now an estimated population of 5-100 BHs. We present a direct N-body model of a star cluster of the same absolute and dynamical age as M22. Imposing an initial retention fraction of ≈10 per cent for BHs, 16 stellar-remnant BHs are retained at a cluster age of 12 Gyr, in agreement with the estimate for M22. Of those 16 BHs, two are in a binary system with a main-sequence star each while also one pure BH binary is present. We argue that multiple BHs can be present in any Milky Way cluster with an extended core radius, such as M22 or the model presented here.

Kalirai, Jason S., Anderson, Jay, Dotter, Aaron, ..., Hurley, Jarrod, ..., 2013. Ultra-Deep Hubble Space Telescope Imaging of the Small Magellanic Cloud: The Initial Mass Function of Stars with M <~ 1 M &sun;, Astrophysical Journal, 763, 110.

We present a new measurement of the stellar initial mass function (IMF) based on ultra-deep, high-resolution photometry of >5000 stars in the outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) galaxy. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Advanced Camera for Surveys observations reveal this rich, cospatial population behind the foreground globular cluster 47 Tuc, which we targeted for 121 HST orbits. The stellar main sequence of the SMC is measured in the F606W, F814W color-magnitude diagram down to ~30th magnitude, and is cleanly separated from the foreground star cluster population using proper motions. We simulate the SMC population by extracting stellar masses (single and unresolved binaries) from specific IMFs and converting those masses to luminosities in our bandpasses. The corresponding photometry for these simulated stars is drawn directly from a rich cloud of 4 million artificial stars, thereby accounting for the real photometric scatter and completeness of the data. Over a continuous and well-populated mass range of M = 0.37-0.93 M &sun; (e.g., down to a ~75% completeness limit at F606W = 28.7), we demonstrate that the IMF is well represented by a single power-law form with slope α = -1.90 (+0.15 -0.10) (3σ error) (e.g., dN/dMvprop M α). This is shallower than the Salpeter slope of α = -2.35, which agrees with the observed stellar luminosity function at higher masses. Our results indicate that the IMF does not turn over to a more shallow power-law form within this mass range. We discuss implications of this result for the theory of star formation, the inferred masses of galaxies, and the (lack of a) variation of the IMF with metallicity. Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. These observations are associated with proposal GO-11677.

Webb, Jeremy J., Harris, William E., Sills, Alison, Hurley, Jarrod R., 2013. The Influence of Orbital Eccentricity on Tidal Radii of Star Clusters, Astrophysical Journal, 764, 124.

We have performed N-body simulations of star clusters orbiting in a spherically symmetric smooth galactic potential. The model clusters cover a range of initial half-mass radii and orbital eccentricities in order to test the historical assumption that the tidal radius of a cluster is imposed at perigalacticon. The traditional assumption for globular clusters is that since the internal relaxation time is larger than its orbital period, the cluster is tidally stripped at perigalacticon. Instead, our simulations show that a cluster with an eccentric orbit does not need to fully relax in order to expand. After a perigalactic pass, a cluster recaptures previously unbound stars, and the tidal shock at perigalacticon has the effect of energizing inner region stars to larger orbits. Therefore, instead of the limiting radius being imposed at perigalacticon, it more nearly traces the instantaneous tidal radius of the cluster at any point in the orbit. We present a numerical correction factor to theoretical tidal radii calculated at perigalacticon which takes into consideration both the orbital eccentricity and current orbital phase of the cluster.


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