Formation of compact stellar clusters by high-redshift galaxy outflows. III. Observability and connection to halo globular clusters

William J. Gray, Evan Scannapieco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


The early universe hosted a large population of low-mass virialized "minihalos," that were not massive enough to form stars on their own. While most minihalos were photoevaporated by ionizing photons from star-forming galaxies, these galaxies also drove large outflows, which in some cases would have reached the minihalos in advance of ionization fronts. In the previous papers in this series, we carried out high-resolution, three-dimensional adaptive mesh refinement simulations of outflow-minihalo interactions that included non-equilibrium chemistry, radiative cooling, and turbulent mixing. We found that, for a fiducial set of parameters, minihalos were transformed into dense, chemically homogenous stellar clusters. Here we conduct a suite of simulations that follow these interactions over a wide range of parameters including minihalo mass, minihalo formation redshift, outflow energy, outflow redshift, distance, concentration, and spin. In almost all cases, the shocked minihalos form molecules through non-equilibrium reactions and then cool rapidly to become compact, chemically homogenous stellar clusters. Furthermore, we show that the unique properties of these clusters make them a prime target for direct study with the next generation of telescopes, and that there are many reasons to suspect that their low-redshift counterparts are the observed population of halo globular clusters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011



  • galaxies: abundances
  • 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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