Volume 556, August 2013
|Number of page(s)||27|
|Published online||05 August 2013|
Kinetic theory of spatially inhomogeneous stellar systems without collective effects⋆
Laboratoire de Physique Théorique (IRSAMC), CNRS and UPS, Université de
Toulouse Cedex 4,
Accepted: 27 March 2013
We review and complete the kinetic theory of spatially inhomogeneous stellar systems when collective effects (dressing of the stars by their polarization cloud) are neglected. We start from the BBGKY hierarchy issued from the Liouville equation and consider an expansion in powers of 1/N in a proper thermodynamic limit. For N → +∞, we obtain the Vlasov equation describing the evolution of collisionless stellar systems like elliptical galaxies. This corresponds to the mean field approximation. At the order 1/N, we obtain a kinetic equation describing the evolution of collisional stellar systems like globular clusters. This corresponds to the weak coupling approximation. This equation coincides with the generalized Landau equation derived from a more abstract projection operator formalism. This equation does not suffer logarithmic divergences at large scales since spatial inhomogeneity is explicitly taken into account. Making a local approximation, and introducing an upper cut-off at the Jeans length, it reduces to the Vlasov-Landau equation which is the standard kinetic equation of stellar systems. Our approach provides a simple and pedagogical derivation of these important equations from the BBGKY hierarchy which is more rigorous for systems with long-range interactions than the two-body encounters theory. Making an adiabatic approximation, we write the generalized Landau equation in angle-action variables and obtain a Landau-type kinetic equation that is valid for fully inhomogeneous stellar systems and is free of divergences at large scales. This equation is less general than the recently derived Lenard-Balescu-type kinetic equation since it neglects collective effects, but it is substantially simpler and could be useful as a first step. We discuss the evolution of the system as a whole and the relaxation of a test star in a bath of field stars. We derive the corresponding Fokker-Planck equation in angle-action variables and provide expressions for the diffusion coefficient and friction force.
Key words: gravitation / methods: analytical / globular clusters: general
Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2013
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