Limits on initial mass segregation in young clusters

Nickolas Moeckel, Ian A. Bonnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Mass segregation is observed in many star clusters, including several that are less than a few Myr old. Time-scale arguments are frequently used to argue that these clusters must be displaying primordial segregation, because they are too young to be dynamically relaxed. Looking at this argument from the other side, the youth of these clusters and the limited time available to mix spatially distinct populations of stars can provide constraints on the amount of initial segregation that is consistent with current observations. We present n-body experiments testing this idea, and discuss the implications of our results for theories of star formation. For system ages less than a few crossing times, we show that star formation scenarios predicting general primordial mass segregation are inconsistent with observed segregation levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1864-1874
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2009


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