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Great Balls of FIRE II: The evolution and destruction of star clusters across cosmic time in a Milky Way-mass galaxy

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Carl L. Rodriguez
  • Function : Author
Zachary Hafen
  • Function : Author
Michael Y. Grudić
  • Function : Author
Kuldeep Sharma
  • Function : Author
Claude-André Faucher-Giguère
  • Function : Author
Andrew Wetzel
  • Function : Author

Abstract

The current generation of galaxy simulations can resolve individual giant molecular clouds, the progenitors of dense star clusters. But the evolutionary fate of these young massive clusters (YMCs), and whether they can become the old globular clusters (GCs) observed in many galaxies, is determined by a complex interplay of internal dynamical processes and external galactic effects. We present the first star-by-star $N$-body models of massive ($N\sim10^5-10^7$) star clusters formed in a FIRE-2 MHD simulation of a Milky Way-mass galaxy, with all of the relevant initial conditions and galactic tidal effects extracted directly from the cosmological simulation. We randomly select 895 ($\sim 30\%$) of the YMCs with $ > 6\times10^4M_{\odot}$ from Grudi\'c et al. 2022 and integrate them to the present day using the Cluster Monte Carlo Code, CMC. This procedure predicts a MW-like system with 148 GCs, most of which were formed during the early, bursty mode of star formation in the galaxy. Our GCs are younger, less massive, and more core collapsed than clusters in the Milky Way or M31. This is a direct result of the assembly history and age-metallicity relationship of the GCs' host galaxy: younger clusters are preferentially born in stronger galactic tidal fields and initially retain fewer stellar-mass black holes, causing them to lose mass faster and reach core collapse sooner than their older counterparts. Our results suggest that the masses and core/half-light radii of GCs are shaped not only by internal dynamical processes, but by the specific evolutionary history of their host galaxies as well. These results emphasize that $N$-body studies with realistic stellar physics are crucial to understanding the evolution and present-day properties of galactic GC systems.
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hal-03862479 , version 1 (23-11-2022)

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Carl L. Rodriguez, Zachary Hafen, Michael Y. Grudić, Astrid Lamberts, Kuldeep Sharma, et al.. Great Balls of FIRE II: The evolution and destruction of star clusters across cosmic time in a Milky Way-mass galaxy. 2022. ⟨hal-03862479⟩
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