Steffi Yen ( USA )
s.yen @ lsw.uni-heidelberg.de
Open Clusters in the Milky Way
Open clusters can be used to study the physical and chemical conditions of star formation throughout the Galactic disk. Currently, there are 3000 known open clusters in the Milky Way. With the precision of Gaia astrometry, we hope to discover many new clusters at much larger distances. We will utilize Gaia data to obtain cleaner membership lists and improved parameters for each cluster, leading to a more complete and better characterization of the open cluster population in the Milky Way.
In preparation for the Gaia data releases, we are developing a fully automatic pipeline to determine membership, distances, reddenings, and ages of open clusters. With a substantially enhanced Milky Way open cluster catalog, we will investigate the star formation history of the Galactic disk by studying the evolution of the luminosity and mass functions of stars in clusters, as well as of the clusters themselves. The results of our study will be relevant in interpreting the field star population in the Milky Way, and in calibrating theoretical models of the evolution of the stellar content of the Galaxy in the extended solar neighborhood.
Supervisor: Sabine Reffert ( LSW )