ChJAA Vol 2, No 1 (2002) / Hou

Abundance Gradient from Open Clusters and Implications for the Galactic Disk Evolution

Jin-Liang Hou, Rui-Xiang Chang, Li Chen


We compile a new sample of 89 open clusters with ages, distances and metallicities available. We derive a radial iron gradient of about -0.099 ± 0.008 dex kpc (unweighted) for the whole sample, which is somewhat greater than the most recent determination of oxygen gradient from nebulae and young stars. By dividing the clusters into age groups, we show that the iron gradient was steeper in the past and has evolved slowly in time. Current data show a substantial scatter of the cluster metallicities indicating that the Galactic disk has undergone a very rapid, inhomogeneous enrichment. Also, based on a simple, but quite successful model of chemical evolution of the Milky Way disk, we make a detailed calculation of the iron abundance gradient and its time evolution. The predicted current iron gradient is about -0.072 dex kpc. The model also predicts a steady flattening of the iron gradient with time, which agrees with the result from our open cluster sample.


open clusters: abundances --- Galaxy: formation --- Galaxy: evolution

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