A comparative study on the reliability of open cluster parameters
Department of Theoretical Physics and AstrophysicsMasaryk
2 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
3 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia Galileo Galilei, Università di Padova, Vicolo Osservatorio 3, 35122 Padova, Italy
Received: 21 April 2015
Accepted: 21 July 2015
Context. Open clusters are known as excellent tracers of the structure and chemical evolution of the Galactic disk, however, the accuracy and reliability of open cluster parameters is poorly known.
Aims. In recent years, several studies aimed to present homogeneous open cluster parameter compilations, which are based on some different approaches and photometric data. These catalogues are excellent sources to facilitate testing of the actual accuracy of open cluster parameters.
Methods. We compare seven cluster parameter compilations statistically and with an external sample, which comprises the mean results of individual studies. Furthermore, we selected the objects IC 4651, NGC 2158, NGC 2383, NGC 2489, NGC 2627, NGC 6603, and Trumpler 14, with the main aim to highlight differences in the fitting solutions.
Results. We derived correction terms for each cluster parameter, using the external calibration sample. Most results by the compilations are reasonable scaled, but there are trends or constant offsets of different degree. We also identified one data set, which appears too erroneous to allow adjustments. After the correction, the mean intrinsic errors amount to about 0.2 dex for the age, 0.08 mag for the reddening, and 0.35 mag for the distance modulus. However, there is no study that characterises the cluster morphologies of all test cases in a correct and consistent manner. Furthermore, we found that the largest compilations probably include at least 20 percent of problematic objects, for which the parameters differ significantly. These could be among others doubtful or unlikely open clusters that do not facilitate an unambiguous fitting solution.
Key words: open clusters and associations: general / Galaxy: fundamental parameters
© ESO, 2015