Galactic globular clusters, which are ancient building blocks of our Galaxy, represent a very interesting family of stellar systems in which some fundamental dynamical processes have taken place on time scales shorter than the age of the universe. In contrast with galaxies, these clusters represent unique laboratories for learning about two-body relaxation, mass segregation from equipartition of energy, stellar collisions, stellar mergers, and core collapse. In the present review, we summarize the tremendous developments, as much theoretical as observational, that have taken place during the last two decades, and which have led to a quantum jump in our understanding of these beautiful dynamical systems.
Astronomy and Astrophysics Review
- Pub Date:
- Stellar Dynamics;
- Globular clusters: general;
- Globular clusters: individual;
- Galaxies: star clusters;
- A review of 171 pages (TeX, no special macros) in press in The Astronomy and Astrophysics Review. Only 7 figures available in postscript form