Context: A new reduction of the astrometric data as produced by the Hipparcos mission has been published, claiming that the accuracies for nearly all stars brighter than magnitude Hp = 8 are improved, by up to a factor 4, compared to the original catalogue. As correlations between the underlying abscissa residuals have also been reduced by more than an order of magnitude to an insignificant level, our ability to determine reliable parallaxes and proper motions for open clusters should be improved.
Aims: The new Hipparcos astrometric catalogue is used to derive mean parallax and proper motion estimates for 20 open clusters. The HR-diagrams of the nearest clusters are compared and combined to provide future input to sets of observational isochrones.
Methods: Three different methods are applied, according to the proximity of the cluster, to compensate, where needed, for projection effects, spread in position along the line of sight, and the internal velocity dispersion of the cluster stars.
Results: The new parallaxes have accuracies between 2 and 2.5 times higher than what had been derived from the original Hipparcos catalogue. At least two to three groups of clusters, mostly of similar ages, are observed to each occupy their own specific space in the HR diagram. A significant discrepancy in distance moduli from those obtained with isochrone-based main-sequence fitting remains, in particular for one of these groups, containing the Pleiades, NGC 2516, and Blanco 1. The difference in absolute magnitudes between this group and one containing the Hyades and Praesepe clusters appears to be correlated with systematic differences in the Strömgren Δ c0 index between those groups. The same dependency has been known to exist for a long time, and is again confirmed by the Hipparcos data, in variations in absolute magnitudes for field stars of the same effective temperature.
Conclusions: The positions of the cluster HR diagrams are consistent within different groups of clusters shown for example by the near-perfect alignment of the sequences for the Hyades and Praesepe, for Coma Ber and UMa, and for the Pleiades, NGC 2516, and Blanco 1. The groups are mutually consistent when systematic differences in Δ c0 are taken into account, where the effect of these differences on the absolute magnitudes has been calibrated using field-star observations.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- April 2009
- methods: data analysis;
- Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) and C-M diagrams;
- open clusters and associations: general;
- stars: distances;
- Astrophysics - Galaxy Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- 34 pages, 36 figures, 7 tables. Accepted for publication by A&