SCYON Abstract

Received on March 6 2001

Scaling of N-body calculations

AuthorsH. Baumgardt
AffiliationDep. of Maths & Stats, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH 93JZ UK
Accepted byMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


We report results of collisional N-body simulations aimed to study the N-dependance of the dynamical evolution of star clusters. Our clusters consist of equal-mass stars and are in virial equilibrium. Clusters moving in external tidal fields and clusters limited by a cut-off radius are simulated. Our main focus is to study the dependence of the lifetimes of the clusters on the number of cluster stars and the chosen escape condition. We find that star clusters in external tidal fields exhibit a scaling problem in the sense that their lifetimes do not scale with the relaxation time. Isolated clusters show a similar problem if stars are removed only after their distance to the cluster centre exceeds a certain cut-off radius. If stars are removed immediately after their energy exceeds the energy necessary for escape, the scaling problem disappears. We show that some stars which gain the energy necessary for escape are scattered to lower energies before they can leave the cluster. Since the efficiency of this process decreases with increasing particle number, it causes the lifetimes not to scale with the relaxation time. Analytic formulae are derived for the scaling of the lifetimes in the different cases.