Extremely rapid star cluster disruption in high-shear circumnuclear starburst rings

the unusual case of NGC 7742

Richard de Grijs*, Peter Anders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


All known mass distributions of recently formed star cluster populations resemble a "universal" power-law function. Here we assess the impact of the extremely disruptive environment in NGC7742's circumnuclear starburst ring on the early evolution of the galaxy's high-mass (∼105-107 ) star cluster population. Surprisingly, and contrary to expectations, at all ages - including the youngest, ≲ 15Myr - the cluster mass functions are robustly and verifiably represented by lognormal distributions that resemble those commonly found only for old, evolved globular cluster systems in the local universe. This suggests that the high-shear conditions in the NGC7742 starburst ring may significantly speed up dynamical star cluster destruction. This enhanced mass-dependent disruption rate at very young ages might be caused by a combination of the starburst ring's high density and the shear caused by the counterrotating gas disk.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL22
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: individual (NGC 7742)
  • galaxies: starburst
  • galaxies: star clusters: general

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