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  1. Abstract

    Globular clusters (GCs) are particularly efficient at forming millisecond pulsars. Among these pulsars, about half lack a companion star, a significantly higher fraction than in the Galactic field. This fraction increases further in some of the densest GCs, especially those that have undergone core collapse, suggesting that dynamical interaction processes play a key role. For the first time, we createN-body models that reproduce the ratio of single-to-binary pulsars in Milky Way–like GCs. We focus especially on NGC 6752, a typical core-collapsed cluster with many observed millisecond pulsars. Previous studies suggested that an increased rate of neutron star binary disruption in the densest clusters could explain the overabundance of single pulsars in these systems. Here, we demonstrate that binary disruption is ineffective and instead we propose that two additional dynamical processes play dominant roles: (1) tidal disruption of main-sequence stars by neutron stars and (2) gravitational collapse of heavy white dwarf binary merger remnants. Neutron stars formed through these processes may also be associated with fast radio bursts similar to those observed recently in an extragalactic GC.

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    It has been argued that heavy binaries composed of neutron stars (NSs) and millisecond pulsars (MSPs) can end up in the outskirts of star clusters via an interaction with a massive black hole (BH) binary expelling them from the core. We argue here, however, that this mechanism will rarely account for such observed objects. Only for primary masses ≲100 M⊙ and a narrow range of orbital separations should a BH–BH binary be both dynamically hard and produce a sufficiently low recoil velocity to retain the NS binary in the cluster. Hence, BH binaries are in general likely to eject NSs from clusters. We explore several alternative mechanisms that would cause NS/MSP binaries to be observed in the outskirts of their host clusters after a Hubble time. The most likely mechanism is a three-body interaction involving the NS/MSP binary and a normal star. We compare to Monte Carlo simulations of cluster evolution for the globular clusters NGC 6752 and 47 Tuc, and show that the models not only confirm that normal three-body interactions involving all stellar-mass objects are the dominant mechanism for putting NS/MSP binaries into the cluster outskirts, but also reproduce the observed NS/MSP binary radial distributions without needing to invoke the presence of a massive BH binary. Higher central densities and an episode of core collapse can broaden the radial distributions of NSs/MSPs and NS/MSP binaries due to three-body interactions, making these clusters more likely to host NSs in the cluster outskirts.

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  3. Abstract

    Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) are the missing link between stellar-mass and supermassive black holes, widely believed to reside in at least some dense star clusters, but not yet observed directly. Tidal disruptions of white dwarfs (WDs) are luminous only for black holes less massive than ∼105M, therefore providing a unique smoking gun that could finally prove the existence of IMBHs beyond any reasonable doubt. Here, we investigate the tidal captures of WDs by IMBHs in dense star clusters, and estimate upper limits to the capture rates of ∼1 Myr−1for galactic nuclei and ∼0.01 Myr−1for globular clusters. Following the capture, the WD inspirals onto the IMBH, producing gravitational waves detectable out to ∼100 Mpc by LISA for ∼104MIMBHs. The subsequent tidal stripping/disruption of the WD can also release bright X-ray and gamma-ray emission with luminosities of at least ≳1040erg s−1, detectable by Chandra, Swift, and upcoming telescopes, such as the Einstein Probe.

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  4. Abstract

    The number of millisecond pulsars (MSPs) observed in Milky Way globular clusters has increased explosively in recent years, but the underlying population is still uncertain due to observational biases. We use state-of-the-artN-body simulations to study the evolution of MSP populations in dense star clusters. These cluster models span a wide range in initial conditions, including different initial masses, metallicities, and virial radii, which nearly cover the full range of properties exhibited by the population of globular clusters in the Milky Way. We demonstrate how different initial cluster properties affect the number of MSPs, for which we provide scaling relations as a function of cluster age and mass. As an application, we use our formulae to estimate the number of MSPs delivered to the Galactic center from inspiralling globular clusters to probe the origin of the Galactic-center gamma-ray excess detected by Fermi. We predict about 400 MSPs in the Galactic center from disrupted globular clusters, which can potentially explain most of the observed gamma-ray excess.

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  5. Abstract Close encounters between neutron stars and main-sequence stars occur in globular clusters and may lead to various outcomes. Here we study encounters resulting in the tidal disruption of the star. Using N -body models, we predict the typical stellar masses in these disruptions and the dependence of the event rate on the host cluster properties. We find that tidal disruption events occur most frequently in core-collapsed globular clusters and that roughly 25% of the disrupted stars are merger products (i.e., blue straggler stars). Using hydrodynamic simulations, we model the tidal disruptions themselves (over timescales of days) to determine the mass bound to the neutron star and the properties of the accretion disks formed. In general, we find roughly 80%–90% of the initial stellar mass becomes bound to the neutron star following disruption. Additionally, we find that neutron stars receive impulsive kicks of up to about 20 km s −1 as a result of the asymmetry of unbound ejecta; these kicks place these neutron stars on elongated orbits within their host cluster, with apocenter distances well outside the cluster core. Finally, we model the evolution of the (hypercritical) accretion disks on longer timescales (days to years after disruption) to estimate the accretion rate onto the neutron stars and accompanying spin-up. As long as ≳1% of the bound mass accretes onto the neutron star, millisecond spin periods can be attained. We argue the growing numbers of isolated millisecond pulsars observed in globular clusters may have formed, at least in part, through this mechanism. In the case of significant mass growth, some of these neutron stars may collapse to form low-mass (≲3 M ⊙ ) black holes. 
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  6. Abstract

    Many recent observational and theoretical studies suggest that globular clusters (GCs) host compact object populations large enough to play dominant roles in their overall dynamical evolution. Yet direct detection, particularly of black holes and neutron stars, remains rare and limited to special cases, such as when these objects reside in close binaries with bright companions. Here we examine the potential of microlensing detections to further constrain these dark populations. Based on state-of-the-art GC models from theCMC Cluster Catalog, we estimate the microlensing event rates for black holes, neutron stars, white dwarfs (WDs), and, for comparison, also for M dwarfs in Milky Way GCs, as well as the effects of different initial conditions on these rates. Among compact objects, we find that WDs dominate the microlensing rates, simply because they largely dominate by numbers. We show that microlensing detections are in general more likely in GCs with higher initial densities, especially in clusters that undergo core collapse. We also estimate microlensing rates in the specific cases of M22 and 47 Tuc using our best-fitting models for these GCs. Because their positions on the sky lie near the rich stellar backgrounds of the Galactic bulge and the Small Magellanic Cloud, respectively, these clusters are among the Galactic GCs best suited for dedicated microlensing surveys. The upcoming 10 yr survey with the Rubin Observatory may be ideal for detecting lensing events in GCs.

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  7. Abstract

    The globular cluster 47 Tucanae (47 Tuc) is one of the most massive star clusters in the Milky Way and is exceptionally rich in exotic stellar populations. For several decades it has been a favorite target of observers, and yet it is computationally very challenging to model because of its large number of stars (N≳ 106) and high density. Here we present detailed and self-consistent 47 Tuc models computed with theCluster Monte Carlocode (CMC). The models include all relevant dynamical interactions coupled to stellar and binary evolution, and reproduce various observations, including the surface brightness and velocity dispersion profiles, pulsar accelerations, and numbers of compact objects. We show that the present properties of 47 Tuc are best reproduced by adopting an initial stellar mass function that is both bottom-heavy and top-light relative to standard assumptions (as in, e.g., Kroupa 2001), and an initial Elson profile (Elson et al. 1987) that is overfilling the cluster’s tidal radius. We include new prescriptions inCMCfor the formation of binaries through giant star collisions and tidal captures, and we show that these mechanisms play a crucial role in the formation of neutron star binaries and millisecond pulsars in 47 Tuc; our best-fit model contains ∼50 millisecond pulsars, 70% of which are formed through giant collisions and tidal captures. Our models also suggest that 47 Tuc presently contains up to ∼200 stellar-mass black holes, ∼5 binary black holes, ∼15 low-mass X-ray binaries, and ∼300 cataclysmic variables.

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