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Abstract: It is textbook knowledge that open clusters are conspicuous members of thethin disk of our Galaxy, but their role as contributors to the stellarpopulation of the disk was regarded as minor. Starting from a homogenousstellar sky survey, the ASCC-2.5, we revisited the population of open clustersin the solar neighbourhood from scratch. In the course of this enterprise wedetected 130 formerly unknown open clusters, constructed volume- andmagnitude-limited samples of clusters, re-determined distances, motions, sizes,ages, luminosities and masses of 650 open clusters. We derived the present-dayluminosity and mass functions of open clusters not the stellar mass functionin open clusters, the cluster initial mass function CIMF and the formationrate of open clusters. We find that open clusters contributed around 40 percentto the stellar content of the disk during the history of our Galaxy. Hence,open clusters are important building blocks of the Galactic disk.

Author: Siegfried Roeser, Nina V. Kharchenko, Anatoly E. Piskunov, Elena Schilbach, Ralf-Dieter Scholz, Hans Zinnecker



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