Astronomisches Rechen-Institut Heidelberg

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ARI-Heidelberg Mitteilungen Serie A, No. 55

Author(s): Wielen, R.
Title: On the Lifetimes of Galactic Clusters
Source: Astrophys. Space Sci. 13, 300-308
Year: 1971
Abstract: From the observed age distribution of galactic clusters within 1 kpc we deduce that the typical total lifetime of a galactic cluster is about 2 108 yr. The individual lifetimes vary between 108 and 1010 yr. The observed lifetimes are compared with the evaporation times which are found from numerical experiments with star cluster models. These models contain up to 250 stars with a realistic mass spectrum. The effect of the galactic tidal field is taken into account and enhances the rate of escape significantly. Escapers are identified by using the Jacobian integral. We give the evaporation time in years as a function of the median radius for different values of the total mass of a cluster. The agreement between the resulting theoretical lifetimes and the observed values is sufficiently good. We estimate that the tidal field of passing interstellar clouds should be in most cases less efficient in dissolving a galactic cluster than the internal evaporation process combined with the effect of the general galactic field
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