The acs survey of galactic globular clusters. VIII. Effects of environment on globular cluster global mass functions

Nathaniel E.Q. Paust, I. Neill Reid, Giampaolo Piotto, Antonio Aparicio, Jay Anderson, Ata Sarajedini, Luigi R. Bedin, Brian Chaboyer, Aaron Dotter, Maren Hempel, Steven Majewski, A. Marín-Franch, Antonino Milone, Alfred Rosenberg, Michael Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


We have used observations obtained as part of the Hubble Space Telescope/ACS Survey of Galactic Globular Clusters to construct global present-day mass functions for 17 globular clusters utilizing multi-mass King models to extrapolate from our observations to the global cluster behavior. The global present-day mass functions for these clusters are well matched by power laws from the turnoff, ≈ 0.8 M , to 0.2-0.3 M on the lower main sequence. The slopes of those power-law fits, α, have been correlated with an extensive set of intrinsic and extrinsic cluster properties to investigate which parameters may influence the form of the present-day mass function. We do not confirm previous suggestions of correlations between α and either metallicity or Galactic location. However, we do find a strong statistical correlation with the related parameters central surface brightness, μV, and inferred central density, ρ0. The correlation is such that clusters with denser cores (stronger binding energy) tend to have steeper mass functions (a higher proportion of low-mass stars), suggesting that dynamical evolution due to external interactions may have played a key role in determining α. Thus, the present-day mass function may owe more to nurture than to nature. Detailed modeling of external dynamical effects is therefore a requisite for determining the initial mass function for Galactic globular clusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-491
Number of pages16
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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