35th Meeting of the AAS Division on Dynamical Astronomy, April 2004
Session 3 Stars \& Galaxies
Oral, Wednesday, April 21, 2004, 2:15-6:20pm,

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[3.01] The Celestial Mechanics of Star Clusters

D.C. Heggie (University of Edinburgh)

Celestial mechanics deals mainly with nearly regular motions, while those in star clusters are nearly random. Yet the techniques of celestial mechanics have been essential in devloping an understanding of star cluster dynamics and in simulations. This talk explores some of these applications, beginning with the exponential divergence of orbits. Here it has recently become possible to understand the process by which the exponential divergence becomes saturated in the nonlinear regime. The talk next considers scattering theory, as interactions between binaries and single stars are one of the main dynamical mechanisms in the evolution of star clusters. Here we concentrate on the stability of the hierarchical three-body systems that often result from binary-binary interactions, and also discuss an application of perturbation theory "beyond all orders". Finally we describe the processes by which stars escape, which is understood by a model resembling Hill's problem. The stability of retrograde satellites is an issue of particular interest, and we describe a new self-consistent model of a star cluster based on this idea.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #2
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.