I was wondering whether there is an easy way to approximate the number of stars in a Globular Cluster (GC) with 10^5 solar masses.

Can one, for instance just assume the GC is made of sun-like stars and therefore has 10^5 stars? Or is this too simple?

Thank you for your answers!


The mean mass of the initial mass function is ~0.3 solar masses (Maschberger 2013). A GC with 10^5 solar masses will therefore have ~3 x 10^5 stars in it. Since the most massive stars will already have died in a GC, the mean mass of the present-day mass distribution of the GC will actually be slightly lower, implying a slightly larger number of stars, but this will be a relatively small correction (certainly not more than a factor of 3).

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you really expect a factor as large as up to 3 for the correction of dead stars? I don't think this is much more than a few, perhaps 20%. $\endgroup$ – Walter May 13 '16 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer! In the estimations I was dealing with, it was actually already good enough to say that there are 10^5 stars inside. However, it is of course better to have a reference! $\endgroup$ – DeltaCentauri Jun 12 '16 at 22:33

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