Diffuse X-rays from the Arches and Quintuplet clusters

Gabriel Rockefeller, Christopher L. Fryer, Fulvio Melia, Q. Daniel Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The origin and initial mass function of young stellar clusters near the Galactic center are still poorly understood. Two of the more prominent ones, the Arches and Quintuplet clusters, may have formed from a shock-induced burst of star formation, given their similar age and proximity to each other. Their unusual mass distribution, however, may be evidence of a contributing role played by other factors, such as stellar capture from regions outside the clusters themselves. Diffuse X-ray emission from these sources provides us with a valuable, albeit indirect, measure of the stellar mass-loss rate from their constituents. Using recent data acquired with Chandra, we can study the nature and properties of the outflow to not only probe the pertinent physical conditions, such as high metallicity, the magnetic field, and so forth, but also to better constrain the stellar distribution within the clusters, in order to identify their formative history. In this paper, we present a set of three-dimensional smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations of the wind-wind interactions in both the Arches and Quintuplet clusters. We are guided primarily by the currently known properties of the constituent stars, though we vary the mass-loss rates in order to ascertain the dependence of the measured X-ray flux on the assumed stellar characteristics. Our results are compared with the latest observations of the Arches cluster. Our analysis of the Quintuplet cluster may be used as a basis for comparison with future X-ray observations of this source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-180
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Apr 10 2005


  • Galaxy: center
  • Globular clusters: individual (Arches, Quintuplet) radiation mechanisms: thermal
  • Shock waves
  • Stars: winds, outflows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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