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Evolution of star clusters in arbitrary tidal fields

Abstract : We present a novel and flexible tensor approach to computing the effect of a time-dependent tidal field acting on a stellar system. The tidal forces are recovered from the tensor by polynomial interpolation in time. The method has been implemented in a direct-summation stellar dynamics integrator (NBODY6) and test-proved through a set of reference calculations: heating, dissolution time and structural evolution of model star clusters are all recovered accurately. The tensor method is applicable to arbitrary configurations, including the important situation where the background potential is a strong function of time. This opens up new perspectives in stellar population studies reaching to the formation epoch of the host galaxy or galaxy cluster, as well as for starburst events taking place during the merger of large galaxies. A pilot application to a star cluster in the merging galaxies NGC 4038/39 (the Antennae) is presented.
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Florent Renaud, Mark Gieles, Christian M. Boily. Evolution of star clusters in arbitrary tidal fields. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2011, 420 (2), pp.759-769. ⟨10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19531.x⟩. ⟨cea-00826967⟩

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