We broaden the investigation of the dynamical properties of tidally perturbed, rotating star clusters by relaxing the traditional assumptions of coplanarity, alignment, and synchronicity between the internal and orbital angular velocity vector of their initial conditions. We show that the interplay between the internal evolution of these systems and their interaction with the external tidal field naturally leads to the development of a number of evolutionary features in their three-dimensional velocity space, including a precession and nutation of the global rotation axis and a variation of its orientation with the distance from the cluster centre. In some cases, such a radial variation may manifest itself as a counter-rotation of the outermost regions relative to the inner ones. The projected morphology of these systems is characterized by a non-monotonic ellipticity profile and, depending on the initial inclination of the rotation axis, it may also show a twisting of the projected isodensity contours. These results provide guidance in the identification of non-trivial features which may emerge in upcoming investigations of star cluster kinematics and a dynamical framework to understand some of the complexities already hinted by recent observational studies.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- March 2018
- methods: numerical;
- globular clusters: general;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- 5 pages, 4 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS