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 Star cluster evolution in barred galaxies




Star cluster evolution in barred disc galaxies. I. Planar periodic orbits.

I. Berentzen (ARI-ZAH), E. Athanassoula (LAM)


The dynamical evolution of stellar clusters is driven to a large
extent by their environment. Several studies so far have
considered the effect of tidal fields and their variations, such
as, e.g., from giant molecular clouds, galactic discs, or spiral
arms. In this paper we will concentrate on a tidal field whose effects
on star clusters have not yet been studied, namely that of bars.
We present a set of direct N-body simulations of star clusters moving in
an analytic potential representing a barred galaxy. We compare
the evolution of the clusters moving both on different planar
periodic orbits in the barred potential and on circular orbits
in a potential obtained by axisymmetrising its mass distribution.
We show that both the shape of the underlying orbit and its
stability have strong impact on the cluster evolution as well as
the morphology and orientation of the tidal tails and the sub-structures
therein. We find that the dissolution time-scale of the cluster in
our simulations is mainly determined by the tidal forcing along
the orbit and, for a given tidal forcing, only very little by the
exact shape of the gravitational potential in which the cluster is moving.

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