Recently, Vitral & Mamon detected a central concentration of dark objects in the core-collapsed globular cluster NGC 6397, which could be interpreted as a subcluster of stellar-mass black holes. However, it is well established theoretically that any significant number of black holes in the cluster would provide strong dynamical heating and is fundamentally inconsistent with this cluster's core-collapsed profile. Claims of intermediate-mass black holes in core-collapsed clusters should similarly be treated with suspicion, for reasons that have been understood theoretically for many decades. Instead, the central dark population in NGC 6397 is exactly accounted for by a compact subsystem of white dwarfs (WDs), as we demonstrate here by inspection of a previously published model that provides a good fit to this cluster. These central WD subclusters are in fact a generic feature of core-collapsed clusters, while central black hole subclusters are present in all non-collapsed clusters.
Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- March 2021
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- 3 pages, 1 figure, to submit to AAS journals