Self-similar gravitational collapse in stellar dynamics

Carlo Lancellotti, Michael Kiessling

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19 Scopus citations


Self-similar gravitational collapse of a globular cluster is studied using the nonlinear kinetic standard model of stellar dynamics consisting of the Fokker-Planck-Vlasov transport equation coupled self-consistently to Poisson's equation for the Newtonian gravitational potential. It is shown rigorously that any locally integrable self-similar solution to these equations must approach a mass density profile p(r, t) ∝ r, α = 3, in the final stage of the collapse. The discrepancy between the exact value α = 3 and previous results in the range 2 < α < 2.5 obtained from the orbit-averaged approximation to the kinetic model raises some questions about the validity of this popular approximation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L93-L96
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Celestial mechanics, stellar dynamics
  • Galaxies: Star clusters
  • Globular clusters: General


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