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Problems of Collisional Stellar Dynamics

By Douglas C. Heggie


The discovery of dynamical friction was Chandrasekhar's best known contribution to the theory of stellar dynamics, but his work ranged from the few-body problem to the limit of large N (in effect, galaxies). Much of this work was summarised in the text "Principles of Stellar Dynamics" (Chandrasekhar 1942, 1960), which ranges from a precise calculation of the time of relaxation, through a long analysis of galaxy models, to the behaviour of star clusters in tidal fields. The later edition also includes the work on dynamical friction and related issues. In this review we focus on progress in the collisional aspects of these problems, i.e. those where few-body interactions play a dominant role, and so we omit further discussion of galaxy dynamics. But we try to link Chandrasekhar's fundamental discoveries in collisional problems with the progress that has been made in the 50 years since the publication of the enlarged edition.Comment: To appear in Bulletin of the Astronomical Society of India, Chandra Centennial Issue, eds D.J. Saikia and Virginia Trimble; 20 pages, 3 figures; minor editorial correction

Topics: Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
Year: 2011
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