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The Astronomical Journal


We have used observations obtained as part of the Hubble Space Telescope/ACS Survey of Galactic Globular Clusters to construct global present-day mass functions for 17 globular clusters utilizing multi-mass King models to extrapolate from our observations to the global cluster behavior. The global present-day mass functions for these clusters are well matched by power laws from the turnoff, ≈0.8 M , to 0.2-0.3 M on the lower main sequence. The slopes of those power-law fits, α, have been correlated with an extensive set of intrinsic and extrinsic cluster properties to investigate which parameters may influence the form of the present-day mass function. We do not confirm previous suggestions of correlations between α and either metallicity or Galactic location. However, we do find a strong statistical correlation with the related parameters central surface brightness, μ V , and inferred central density, ρ0. The correlation is such that clusters with denser cores (stronger binding energy) tend to have steeper mass functions (a higher proportion of low-mass stars), suggesting that dynamical evolution due to external interactions may have played a key role in determining α. Thus, the present-day mass function may owe more to nurture than to nature. Detailed modeling of external dynamical effects is therefore a requisite for determining the initial mass function for Galactic globular clusters.