The formation of young dense star clusters through mergers.
FUJII M.S., SAITOH T.R. and PORTEGIES ZWART S.F.
Abstract (from CDS):
Young star clusters such as NGC 3603 and Westerlund 1 and 2 in the Milky Way and R136 in the Large Magellanic Cloud are dynamically more evolved than expected based on their current relaxation times. In particular, the combination of a high degree of mass segregation, a relatively low central density, and the large number of massive runaway stars in their vicinity are hard to explain with the monolithic formation of these clusters. Young star clusters can achieve such a mature dynamical state if they formed through the mergers of a number of less massive clusters. The shorter relaxation times of less massive clusters cause them to dynamically evolve further by the time they merge, and the merger product preserves the memory of the dynamical evolution of its constituent clusters. With a series of N-body simulations, we study the dynamical evolution of single massive clusters and those that are assembled through merging smaller clusters together. We find that the formation of massive star clusters through the mergers of smaller clusters can reproduce the currently observed spatial distribution of massive stars, the density, and the characteristics (number and mass distribution) of the stars ejected as runaways from young dense clusters. We therefore conclude that these clusters and possibly other young massive star clusters formed through the mergers of smaller clusters.