The mass-to-light ratio of rich star clusters
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
We point out a strong time evolution of the mass-to-light conversion factor, η, commonly used to estimate masses of unresolved star clusters from observed cluster spectrophotometric measures. We present a series of gas-dynamical models, coupled with the Cambridge stellar evolution tracks, to compute line-of-sight velocity dispersions and half-light radii weighted by the luminosity. We explore a range of initial conditions, varying in turn the cluster mass and/or density, and the stellar population’s initial mass function. We find that η, and hence the estimated cluster mass, may increase by as much as a factor of three over time-scales of 50 million yr. We apply these results to an hypothetic cluster mass distribution function (d.f.), and show that the d.f. shape may be strongly affected at the low-mass end by this effect. Fitting truncated isothermal (Michie–King) models to the projected light profile leads to over-estimates of the concentration parameter, c, of δ c≈0.3 compared to the same functional fit applied to the projected mass density.
|Research areas and keywords||
Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 2009 Dec 1|