Letter to the Editor
ISM gas removal from starburst galaxies and the premature death of star clusters
Universidade de São Paulo, IAG, Rua do Matão 1226, Cidade Universitária, São Paulo 05508-900, Brazil e-mail: [cmelioli;dalpino]@astro.iag.usp.br
Accepted: 21 October 2005
Recent observational studies of the age distribution of star clusters in nearby merging galaxies and starburst (SB) galaxies indicate a premature death of the young clusters. The fate of an evolving star cluster crucially depends of its gas content. This behaves like a glue that helps to keep the star system gravitationally bound. In SB systems where the rate of supernovae (SNe) explosions is elevated one should expect an efficient heating of the gas and its complete removal which could then favor the rapid dissociation of the evolving star clusters. Based on a contemporaneous study of the dynamical evolution of the interstellar gas in SB environments (Melioli & de Gouveia Dal Pino 2004, A&A, 424, 817) where it has been considered also the presence of dense clouds that may inhibit the heating efficiency of the interstellar gas by the SNe, we have here computed the timescales for gas removal from young clusters embedded in these systems and found that they are consistent with the very short timescales for cluster dissolution which are inferred from the observational studies above. Our results indicate that typical SB proto-clusters should start to disperse after less than 5 Myr. For a given total gas mass content, this result is nearly insensitive to the initial star formation efficiency.
Key words: stellar clusters: general / stellar cluster: ISM, SNe
© ESO, 2006