Radial Velocity Studies of the Internal Kinematics of Open Clusters

Robert D. Mathieu
1984 International Astronomical Union Colloquium  
The internal kinematics of open clusters are a particularly challenging subject for study with radial velocities. Our present sitate of knowledge concerning the structure and kinematics of open clusters has recently been reviewed (Mathieu 1985), so I will only summarize here several of the essential concerns. The most basic goal is to measure a central or global velocity dispersion. Comparison of such measured dispersions with dynamical models fit to the cluster structure is a direct test of
more » ... understanding of the dynamics of open clusters. Far more difficult but of great importance to our understanding of cluster dynamics is the observation of assorted differential effects in these clusters. Open clusters provide a unique opportunity to study velocity distributions as a function of stellar mass. Radial velocity studies of nearby clusters can in themselves span a factor 2 in stellar mass; when combined with proper-motion studies which include the earlier stars inaccessible to high-precision radial velocities, a mass spectrum of up to an order of magnitude can be studied. Also, as with globular clusters, anisotropie velocity distributions are to be expected in the halos of those open clusters which are more than a few relaxation times old. Proper-motion studies (Jones 1970, 1971; van Leeuwen 1983) have found that anisotropy exists to within 1 pc of the centers of the Pleiades and Praesepe, much nearer the center than has so far been found in globular clusters. Independent confirmation of these findings as well as an increase in the sample of clusters studied would be of real value. And finally, the very youngest open clusters allow us to study the state of clusters at formation and indeed the star-formation process itself.
doi:10.1017/s0252921100098845 fatcat:btcshxmdlfdlzg2rpafevoyg74