Formation of compact stellar clusters by high-redshift galaxy outflows. I. Non-equilibrium coolant formation

William J. Gray, Evan Scannapieco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We use high-resolution three-dimensional adaptive mesh refinement simulations to investigate the interaction of high-redshift galaxy outflows with low-mass virialized clouds of primordial composition. While atomic cooling allows star formation in objects with virial temperatures above 104 K, "minihalos" below this threshold are generally unable to form stars by themselves. However, these objects are highly susceptible to triggered star formation, induced by outflows from neighboring high-redshift starburst galaxies. Here, we conduct a study of these interactions, focusing on cooling through non-equilibrium molecular hydrogen (H2) and hydrogen deuteride (HD) formation. Tracking the non-equilibrium chemistry and cooling of 14 species and including the presence of a dissociating background, we show that shock interactions can transform minihalos into extremely compact clusters of coeval stars. Furthermore, these clusters are all less than ≈a106M, and they are ejected from their parent dark matter halos: properties that are remarkably similar to those of the old population of globular clusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-432
Number of pages16
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 20 2010


  • Astrochemistry
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Galaxies: star clusters: general
  • Globular clusters: general
  • Shock waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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