SCYON Abstract

Received on May 6 2008

Open Clusters as Galactic Disk Tracers: I. Project Motivation, Cluster Membership and Bulk Three-Dimensional Kinematics

AuthorsPeter M. Frinchaboy (1,2) and Steven R. Majewski (1)
Affiliation(1) Univ. of Virginia
(2) NSF AAP Fellow, Univ. of Wisconsin
Accepted byAstronomical Journal


We have begun a survey of the chemical and dynamical properties of the Milky Way disk as traced by open star clusters. In this first contribution, the general goals of our survey are outlined and the strengths and limitations of using star clusters as a Galactic disk tracer sample are discussed. We also present medium resolution (R ≈ 15,0000) spectroscopy of open cluster stars obtained with the Hydra multi-object spectrographs on the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory 4-m and WIYN 3.5-m telescopes. Here we use these data to determine the radial velocities of 3436 stars in the fields of open clusters within about 3 kpc, with specific attention to stars having proper motions in the Tycho-2 catalog. Additional radial velocity members (without Tycho-2 proper motions) that can be used for future studies of these clusters were also identified. The radial velocities, proper motions, and the angular distance of the stars from cluster center are used to derive cluster membership probabilities for stars in each cluster field using a non-parametric approach, and the cluster members so-identified are used, in turn, to derive the reliable bulk three-dimensional motion for 66 of 71 targeted open clusters. The high probability cluster members that we identify help to clarify the color-magnitude sequences for many of the clusters, and are prime targets for future echelle resolution spectroscopy as well as astrometric study with the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM Planetquest).