SCYON Abstract

Received on: 01 07 2020

Tidal tails of open star clusters as probes to early gas expulsion I: A semi-analytic model

Authors:F. Dinnbier 1, P. Kroupa 2,3
Affiliations:(1) I.Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln, Köln, Germany; (2) Helmholtz-Institut für Strahlen- und Kernphysik, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany; (3) Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Astronomical Institute, Praha, Czech Republic
Accepted by: Astronomy & Astrophysics

Star clusters form out of the densest parts of infrared dark clouds. The emergence of massive stars expels the residual gas, which has not formed stars yet. Gas expulsion lowers the gravitational potential of the embedded cluster, unbinding many of the cluster stars. These stars then move on their own trajectories in the external gravitational field of the Galaxy, forming a tidal tail. We investigate the formation and evolution of the tidal tail forming due to expulsion of primordial gas under various scenarios of gas expulsion to provide predictions for tidal tails around dynamically evolved (age > 100 Myr) galactic star clusters, which can be possibly detected by the Gaia mission. We provide a semi-analytical model for the tail evolution. We find that tidal tails released during gas expulsion have different kinematic properties than the tails gradually forming due to evaporation. The gas expulsion tidal tail shows non-monotonic expansion with time, where longer epochs of expansion are interspersed with shorter epochs of contraction. The tail thickness and velocity dispersions strongly, but not exactly periodically, vary with time. The times of minima of tail thickness and velocity dispersions are given only by the properties of the galactic potential, and not by the properties of the cluster. The estimates provided by the (semi-)analytical model for the extent of the tail, the minima of tail thickness, and velocity dispersions are in a very good agreement with the nbody6 simulations. This implies that the semi-analytic model can be used for estimating the properties of the gas expulsion tidal tail for a cluster of a given age and orbital parameters without the necessity of performing numerical simulations. A study with a more extended parameter space of the initial conditions is performed in the follow up paper.

Back to upcoming issue