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The Gravitational Million-Body Problem

  • Douglas C. Heggie (a1)

Abstract

We review what has been learned recently using N-body simulations about the evolution of globular clusters. While simulations of star clusters have become more realistic, and now include the evolution of single and binary stars, the prospect of reaching large enough N is still a distant one. Nevertheless more restricted kinds of simulations have recently brought valuable progress for certain problems of current observational interest, including the origin and structure of tidal tails of globular clusters. In addition, such simulations have forced us to rethink some basic aspects of stellar dynamics, including, in particular, the process of escape. Finally we turn to faster, approximate methods for studying star cluster dynamics, where the role of N-body simulations is one of calibration.

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