SCYON Abstract

Received on September 4 2006

Population analysis of open clusters: radii and mass segregation

AuthorsE. Schilbach (1), N.V. Kharchenko (1,2,4), A.E. Piskunov (1,3,4), S. Röser (1) and R.-D. Scholz (4)
(1) Astronomisches Rechen-Institut, Mönchhofstraβe 12-14, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
(2) Main Astronomical Observatory, 27 Academica Zabolotnogo Str., 03680 Kiev, Ukraine
(3) Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Acad. Sci., 48 Pyatnitskaya Str., Moscow 109017, Russia
(4) Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, D-14482 Potsdam, Germany
Accepted byAstronomy & Astrophysics


Based on our well-determined sample of open clusters in the all-sky catalogue ASCC-2.5 we derive new linear sizes of some 600 clusters, and investigate the effect of mass segregation of stars in open clusters. Using statistical methods, we study the distribution of linear sizes as a function of spatial position and cluster age. We also examine statistically the distribution of stars of different masses within clusters as a function of the cluster age. No significant dependence of the cluster size on location in the Galaxy is detected for younger clusters (< 200 Myr), whereas older clusters inside the solar orbit turned out to be, on average, smaller than outside. Also, small old clusters are preferentially found close to the Galactic plane, whereas larger ones more frequently live farther away from the plane and at larger Galactocentric distances. For clusters with (V - MV) < 10.5, a clear dependence of the apparent radius on age has been detected: the cluster radii decrease by a factor of about 2 from an age of 10 Myr to an age of 1 Gyr. A detailed analysis shows that this observed effect can be explained by mass segregation and does not necessarily reflect a real decrease of cluster radii. We found evidence for the latter for the majority of clusters older than 30 Myr. Among the youngest clusters (between 5 and 30 Myr), there are some clusters with a significant grade of mass segregation, whereas some others show no segregation at all. At a cluster age between 50 and 100 Myrs, the distribution of stars of different masses becomes more regular over cluster area. In older clusters the evolution of the massive stars is the most prominent effect we observe.