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2013MNRAS.436.1465B - Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 436, 1465-1478 (2013/December-1)

Properties of star clusters - I. Automatic distance and extinction estimates.


Abstract (from CDS):

Determining star cluster distances is essential to analyse their properties and distribution in the Galaxy. In particular, it is desirable to have a reliable, purely photometric distance estimation method for large samples of newly discovered cluster candidates e.g. from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, the UK Infrared Deep Sky Survey Galactic Plane Survey and VVV. Here, we establish an automatic method to estimate distances and reddening from near-infrared photometry alone, without the use of isochrone fitting. We employ a decontamination procedure of JHK photometry to determine the density of stars foreground to clusters and a galactic model to estimate distances. We then calibrate the method using clusters with known properties. This allows us to establish distance estimates with better than 40 percent accuracy.

We apply our method to determine the extinction and distance values to 378 known open clusters and 397 cluster candidates from the list of Froebrich, Scholz & Raftery. We find that the sample is biased towards clusters of a distance of approximately 3kpc, with typical distances between 2 and 6kpc. Using the cluster distances and extinction values, we investigate how the average extinction per kiloparsec distance changes as a function of the Galactic longitude. We find a systematic dependence that can be approximated by AH(l) [mag/kpc] = 0.10 + 0.001x{verbar}l - 180°{verbar}/° for regions more than 60° from the Galactic Centre.

Abstract Copyright: © 2013 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society (2013)

Journal keyword(s): stars: distances - stars: fundamental parameters - stars: statistics - dust, extinction - open clusters and associations: general - galaxies: star clusters: general

VizieR on-line data: <Available at CDS (J/MNRAS/436/1465): tablea1.dat>

Simbad objects: 779

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