Letter | Published:

A Search for Neutral Atomic Hydrogen in Globular Clusters

Abstract

GLOBULAR clusters can be expected to contain interstellar matter if, as is currently believed, all stars in their evolutionary processes end up as white dwarfs. Theory predicts that a star evolving to the white dwarf stage will shed material if its initial mass is greater than about 1.2 M, where M is the mass of the sun. Loss of mass need not stop when the star reaches this limit. That it may indeed continue is suggested by the low mean mass of about 0.6 M found for white dwarfs1. In a globular cluster, the amount of matter thus ejected from evolving stars will be a significant fraction of the total mass of the cluster. However, it is likely that during the lifetime of the cluster most of this matter will be removed by (1) passages through the plane of the galaxy which would sweep out the dust and gas, and (2) presumably by the establishment of equipartition of energy between the stars and intraglobular matter.

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References

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