Modeling Dense Star Clusters in the Milky Way and beyond with the Cluster Monte Carlo Code
Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series
We describe the public release of the Cluster Monte Carlo (CMC) code, a parallel, star-by-star N-body code for modeling dense star clusters. CMC treats collisional stellar dynamics using Hénon's method, where the cumulative effect of many two-body encounters is statistically reproduced as a single effective encounter between nearest-neighbor particles on a relaxation timescale. The star-by-star approach allows for the inclusion of additional physics, including strong gravitational three- and
... r-body encounters, two-body tidal and gravitational-wave captures, mass loss in arbitrary galactic tidal fields, and stellar evolution for both single and binary stars. The public release of CMC is pinned directly to the COSMIC population synthesis code, allowing dynamical star cluster simulations and population synthesis studies to be performed using identical assumptions about the stellar physics and initial conditions. As a demonstration, we present two examples of star cluster modeling: first, we perform the largest (N = 108) star-by-star N-body simulation of a Plummer sphere evolving to core collapse, reproducing the expected self-similar density profile over more than 15 orders of magnitude; second, we generate realistic models for typical globular clusters, and we show that their dynamical evolution can produce significant numbers of black hole mergers with masses greater than those produced from isolated binary evolution (such as GW190521, a recently reported merger with component masses in the pulsational pair-instability mass gap).