A number of globular clusters appear to have undergone core collapse, in the sense that their predicted collapse times are much shorter than their current ages. Simulations with gas models and the Fokker-Planck approximation have shown that the central density of a globular cluster after the collapse undergoes nonlinear oscillation with a large amplitude (gravothermal oscillation). However, the question whether such an oscillation actually takes place in real N-body systems has remained unsolved because an N-body simulation with a sufficiently high resolution would have required computing resources of the order of several GFLOPS-yr. In the present paper, we report the results of such a simulation performed on a dedicated special-purpose computer, GRAPE-4. We have simulated the evolution of isolated point-mass systems with up to 32,768 particles. The largest number of particles reported previously is 10,000. We confirm that gravothermal oscillation takes place in an N-body system. The expansion phase shows all the signatures that are considered to be evidence of the gravothermal nature of the oscillation. At the maximum expansion, the core radius is ∼1% of the half-mass radius for the run with 32,768 particles. The maximum core size, rc, depends on N as <rc> ∝ N-1/3.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- November 1996
- GALAXY: GLOBULAR CLUSTERS: GENERAL;
- METHODS: NUMERICAL;
- STARS: KINEMATICS;
- To appear in Apj, Vol 470, Oct 20, 11 pages, 7 figures, Postscript (or GIF) version available at http://grape.c.u-tokyo.ac.jp/pub/people/makino/papers/osclong.ps or http://grape.c.u-tokyo.ac.jp/pub/people/makino/papers/osclong.html