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Astron. Astrophys. 331, 916-924 (1998)

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The spatial distribution and luminosity function of the open cluster NGC 4815

B. Chen 1, G. Carraro 2, 3, J. Torra 1 and C. Jordi 1

1 Departament d'Astronomia i Meteorologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Avda. Diagonal 647, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain
2 Department of Astronomy, Padova University, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, I-35122 Padova, Italy
3 SISSA/ISAS, Via Beirut 2, I-34013 Trieste, Italy

Received 22 August 1997 / Accepted 27 November 1997

Abstract

NGC 4815 is a distant and populous open cluster, which lies in the galactic plane in a region of strong absorption. As a consequence, its membership, spatial distribution and luminosity function are not well determined. In this paper, we present an algorithm which uses both positional and photometric data simultaneously to search for open cluster members. The contribution of the field stars is estimated by our Galaxy model software. The method has been developed for deep CCD photometric observations, but it can also be used to investigate the membership in an n-dimensional space, including proper motions, radial velocity and metallicity.

A clean and well defined colour-magnitude diagram (CMD) for NGC 4815 has been obtained after decontaminating from field stars. We have investigated the spatial distribution of cluster members and the luminosity function. We have shown that the projected surface distribution of stars is well-represented by an exponentially decreasing function with a scale length of 1.67 [FORMULA] 0.06 arcmin. We have found evidence for mass segregation. The luminosity function for NGC 4815 is similar to that of the Hyades cluster, and shows a gap at V = 15 mag.

Key words: open clusters and associations: individual: NGC 4815 – stars: luminosity function, mass function – stars: fundamental parameters – Galaxy: stellar content – methods: statistical

Send offprint requests to: bchen@mizar.am.ub.es

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: March 3, 1998
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