MOCCA-Survey Database I. Unravelling black hole subsystems in globular clusters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this paper, we discuss how the structural and observational properties of globular clusters (GCs) can be used to infer the presence of a black hole system (BHS) inhabiting their inner regions. We propose a novel way to define the BHS size as the radius from the GC centre within which half of the mass is in stellar mass BHs and the remaining half is in other stars. Using this definition, similar to the well-known concept of ‘influence radius’, we found a ‘fundamental plane’ connecting the BHS typical density with the GC central surface density profile, total luminosity and observational half-mass radius. Our approach allows us to define a unique way to connect the observational GCs parameters with their dark content. Comparing our results with observed Milky Way GCs, we found that many of them likely host, at the present time, as many as several hundreds of BHs. These BHS are characterized by a relatively low typical density, pc−3 and composed of relatively massive BHs, with average masses in the range m BHS =14−22M ⊙
⁠. We also show that a similar approach can be used to find Milky Way GCs potentially hosting an intermediate-mass black hole.


External organisations
  • Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Heidelberg University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4652-4664
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes