New Clues from Old Star Clusters of the Galactic Disk
Eileen Friel (NSF)
The Galactic open cluster population has long been used as a probe of the
structure or the Galactic disk and a timeline for studying its evolution.
With ages that range up to 10-12 billion years and positions that span a
large range in Galactocentric distances, the open clusters provide a broad
sample with which to investigate issues such as the history of star
formation in the Galaxy, the chemical evolution of the disk, and the
competing influences of cluster formation and disruption that mold the
properties of the present day cluster population.