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Environmental Effects on the Dynamical Evolution of Star Clusters in Turbulent Molecular Clouds

Presentation #108.07 in the session Poster Presentations.

Published onApr 25, 2022
Environmental Effects on the Dynamical Evolution of Star Clusters in Turbulent Molecular Clouds

Molecular clouds are usually ignored when modeling the structural and dynamical properties of the clusters that birth therein. The usual approach is to consider the feedback as a one-way process by which the stars erode the cloud. Yet despite this action, the cluster still finds itself imbedded in a dense, highly turbulent medium. Interactions with ambient gaseous structures modify its dynamical evolution from that expected if it were isolated. We studied young massive star clusters that remain within their initial cloud complex. Assuming the conditions of a translucent cloud whose mass is not substantially greater than the cluster, we simulated the cluster dynamical development by combining N-body and hydrodynamical codes within the Astronomical Multipurpose Software Environment (AMUSE). The clusters were modeled both with and without an initial mass function for the stars, and the evolution was followed with and without the ambient cloud medium for approximately 100 Myr. Most models reached core collapse and we examined the effects of the cloud on their subsequent evolution. The turbulent environment, even if not self-gravitating, produces a stochastic tidal acceleration that perturbs the cluster. Even without self-gravitation or stellar feedback, tidal harassment produces a lower density configuration more rapidly than the isolated reference simulations. The background is more effective on clusters in advanced stages of dynamical development. The asymptotic power-law density distribution exponent also shows substantially different evolution in the two cases, with the tidally disturbed systems displaying more extended, shallower halos. This study is based on Suin, P., 2022, MSc thesis, Physics, University of Pisa (


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