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The population in the background of open clusters: tracer of the Norma-Cygnus arm
We present colour-magnitude diagrams of open clusters, located in therange 112° < l < 252°, manifesting stellar populations inthe background of clusters. Some of the populations are found to belocated beyond the Perseus arm and may be the part of the Norma-Cygnus(outer) arm. The outer arm seems to be continued from l ~ 120° to~235°. The background populations follow the downward warp of theGalactic plane around l ~ 240°.

The Role of Evolutionary Age and Metallicity in the Formation of Classical Be Circumstellar Disks. I. New Candidate Be Stars in the LMC, SMC, and Milky Way
We present B, V, R, and Hα photometry of eight clusters in theSmall Magellanic Cloud, five in the Large Magellanic Cloud, and threeGalactic clusters and use two-color diagrams (2-CDs) to identifycandidate Be star populations in these clusters. We find evidence thatthe Be phenomenon is enhanced in low-metallicity environments, based onthe observed fractional early-type candidate Be star content of clustersof age 10-25 Myr. Numerous candidate Be stars of spectral types B0-B5were identified in clusters of age 5-8 Myr, challenging the suggestionof Fabregat & Torrejon that classical Be stars should only be foundin clusters at least 10 Myr old. These results suggest that asignificant number of B-type stars must emerge onto the zero-age mainsequence as rapid rotators. We also detect an enhancement in thefractional content of early-type candidate Be stars in clusters of age10-25 Myr, suggesting that the Be phenomenon does become more prevalentwith evolutionary age. We briefly discuss the mechanisms that mightcontribute to such an evolutionary effect. A discussion of thelimitations of using the 2-CD technique to investigate the roleevolutionary age and/or metallicity play in the development of the Bephenomenon is offered, and we provide evidence that other B-type objectsof very different nature, such as candidate Herbig Ae/Be stars, maycontaminate the claimed detections of Be stars via 2-CDs.

Kinematics of the Open Cluster System in the Galaxy
Absolute proper motions and radial velocities of 202 open clusters inthe solar neighborhood, which can be used as tracers of the Galacticdisk, are used to investigate the kinematics of the Galaxy in the solarvicinity, including the mean heliocentric velocity components(u1,u2,u3) of the open cluster system,the characteristic velocity dispersions(σ1,σ2,σ3), Oortconstants (A,B) and the large-scale radial motion parameters (C,D) ofthe Galaxy. The results derived from the observational data of propermotions and radial velocities of a subgroup of 117 thin disk young openclusters by means of a maximum likelihood algorithm are:(u1,u2,u3) =(-16.1+/-1.0,-7.9+/-1.4,-10.4+/-1.5) km s-1,(σ1,σ2,σ3) =(17.0+/-0.7,12.2+/-0.9,8.0+/-1.3) km s-1,(A,B) =(14.8+/-1.0,-13.0+/-2.7) km s-1 kpc-1, and (C,D) =(1.5+/-0.7,-1.2+/-1.5) km s-1 k pc-1. A discussionon the results and comparisons with what was obtained by other authorsis given.

Spiral structure of the third galactic quadrant and the solution to the Canis Major debate
With the discovery of the Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal, a galaxy caughtin the process of merging with the Milky Way, the hunt for other suchaccretion events has become a very active field of astrophysicalresearch. The identification of a stellar ring-like structure inMonoceros, spanning more than 100°, and the detection of anoverdensity of stars in the direction of the constellation of CanisMajor (CMa), apparently associated to the ring, has led to thewidespread belief that a second galaxy being cannibalized by the MilkyWay had been found. In this scenario, the overdensity would be theremaining core of the disrupted galaxy and the ring would be the tidaldebris left behind. However, unlike the Sagittarius dwarf, which is wellbelow the Galactic plane and whose orbit, and thus tidal tail, is nearlyperpendicular to the plane of the Milky Way, the putative CMa galaxy andring are nearly co-planar with the Galactic disc. This severelycomplicates the interpretation of observations. In this Letter, we showthat our new description of the Milky Way leads to a completelydifferent picture. We argue that the Norma-Cygnus spiral arm defines adistant stellar ring crossing Monoceros and the overdensity is simply aprojection effect of looking along the nearby local arm. Our perspectivesheds new light on a very poorly known region, the third Galacticquadrant, where CMa is located.

Proper motion determination of open clusters based on the UCAC2 catalogue
We present the kinematics of hundreds of open clusters, based on theUCAC2 Catalogue positions and proper motions. Membership probabilitieswere obtained for the stars in the cluster fields by applying astatistical method uses stellar proper motions. All open clusters withknown distance were investigated, and for 75 clusters this is the firstdetermination of the mean proper motion. The results, including the DSSimages of the cluster's fields with the kinematic members marked, areincorporated in the Open Clusters Catalogue supported on line by ourgroup.

The Evolutionary Status of Be Stars: Results from a Photometric Study of Southern Open Clusters
Be stars are a class of rapidly rotating B stars with circumstellardisks that cause Balmer and other line emission. There are threepossible reasons for the rapid rotation of Be stars: they may have beenborn as rapid rotators, spun up by binary mass transfer, or spun upduring the main-sequence (MS) evolution of B stars. To test the variousformation scenarios, we have conducted a photometric survey of 55 openclusters in the southern sky. Of these, five clusters are probably notphysically associated groups and our results for two other clusters arenot reliable, but we identify 52 definite Be stars and an additional 129Be candidates in the remaining clusters. We use our results to examinethe age and evolutionary dependence of the Be phenomenon. We find anoverall increase in the fraction of Be stars with age until 100 Myr, andBe stars are most common among the brightest, most massive B-type starsabove the zero-age main sequence (ZAMS). We show that a spin-up phase atthe terminal-age main sequence (TAMS) cannot produce the observeddistribution of Be stars, but up to 73% of the Be stars detected mayhave been spun-up by binary mass transfer. Most of the remaining Bestars were likely rapid rotators at birth. Previous studies havesuggested that low metallicity and high cluster density may also favorBe star formation. Our results indicate a possible increase in thefraction of Be stars with increasing cluster distance from the Galacticcenter (in environments of decreasing metallicity). However, the trendis not significant and could be ruled out due to the intrinsic scatterin our data. We also find no relationship between the fraction of Bestars and cluster density.

Detection of a Young Stellar Population in the Background of Open Clusters in the Third Galactic Quadrant
We report the detection of a young stellar population (<=100 Myr) inthe background of nine young open clusters belonging to a homogenoussample of 30 star clusters in the third Galactic quadrant (at217deg<=l<=260deg). Deep and accurate UBVRIphotometry allows us to measure model-independent age and distance forthe clusters and the background population with high confidence. Thispopulation is exactly the same population (the blue plume) recentlydetected in three intermediate-age open clusters and suggested to be a<=1-2 Gyr old population belonging to the Canis Major (CMa)overdensity (Bellazzini et al.; Martínez-Delgado et al.).However, we find that the young population in those three clusters andin six clusters of our sample follows the pattern of the Norma-Cygnusspiral arm as defined by CO clouds remarkably well, while in the otherthree program clusters it lies in the Perseus arm. We finally provideone example (out of 21) of a cluster that does not show any backgroundpopulation, demonstrating that this population is not ubiquitous towardCMa.

The Effective Temperature Scale of Galactic Red Supergiants: Cool, but Not As Cool As We Thought
We use moderate-resolution optical spectrophotometry and the new MARCSstellar atmosphere models to determine the effective temperatures of 74Galactic red supergiants (RSGs). The stars are mostly members of OBassociations or clusters with known distances, allowing a criticalcomparison with modern stellar evolutionary tracks. We find we canachieve excellent matches between the observations and the reddenedmodel fluxes and molecular transitions, although the atomic lines Ca Iλ4226 and Ca II H and K are found to be unrealistically strong inthe models. Our new effective temperature scale is significantly warmerthan those in the literature, with the differences amounting to 400 Kfor the latest type M supergiants (i.e., M5 I). We show that the newlyderived temperatures and bolometric corrections give much betteragreement with stellar evolutionary tracks. This agreement provides acompletely independent verification of our new temperature scale. Thecombination of effective temperature and bolometric luminosities allowsus to calculate stellar radii; the coolest and most luminous stars (KWSgr, Case 75, KY Cyg, HD 206936=μ Cep) have radii of roughly 1500Rsolar (7 AU), in excellent accordance with the largeststellar radii predicted from current evolutionary theory, althoughsmaller than that found by others for the binary VV Cep and for thepeculiar star VY CMa. We find that similar results are obtained for theeffective temperatures and bolometric luminosities using only thedereddened V-K colors, providing a powerful demonstration of theself-consistency of the MARCS models.

Astrophysical parameters of Galactic open clusters
We present a catalogue of astrophysical data for 520 Galactic openclusters. These are the clusters for which at least three most probablemembers (18 on average) could be identified in the ASCC-2.5, a catalogueof stars based on the Tycho-2 observations from the Hipparcos mission.We applied homogeneous methods and algorithms to determine angular sizesof cluster cores and coronae, heliocentric distances, mean propermotions, mean radial velocities, and ages. For the first time we derivedistances for 200 clusters, radial velocities for 94 clusters, and agesof 196 clusters. This homogeneous new parameter set is compared withearlier determinations, where we find, in particular, that the angularsizes were systematically underestimated in the literature.

Comparison of the Luminosity Functions of Open Clusters Based on USNO-A1 Data
The luminosity and mass functions of a group of Galactic open clustersare constructed by applying a statistical method to photometric datafrom the USNO-A1 catalog. Despite some limitations, this catalog can beused for statistical analyses in Galactic astronomy. Pairwisecomparisons of the derived cluster luminosity functions are performedfor five age intervals. The differences between the luminosity functionsof the open clusters are not statistically significant in most cases. Itis concluded that the luminosity functions are approximately universalthroughout a large volume in the solar neighborhood. Combined luminosityand mass functions are constructed for six age intervals. The slope ofthe mass spectrum may vary somewhat from cluster to cluster, and themean slope may be somewhat higher than the Salpetervalue.

New variable stars in open clusters. I. Methods and results for 20 open clusters
We present high precision CCD photometry of 1791 objects in 20 openclusters with an age of 10 Myr to 1 Gyr. These observations wereperformed within the Δ a photometric system which is primarilyused to detect chemically peculiar stars of the upper main sequence.Time bases range from 30 min up to 60 days with data from severalnights. We describe the time series analysis reaching a detection limitof down to 0.006 mag for apparent variability. In total, we havedetected 35 variable objects of which four are not members of theircorresponding clusters. The variables cover the entireHertzsprung-Russell diagram, hence they are interesting targets forfollow-up observations.Based on observations obtained at Complejo Astronómico elLeoncito (CASLEO), operated under the agreement between the ConsejoNacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de laRepública Argentina and the National Universities of La Plata,Córdoba y San Juan; ESO-La Silla and UTSO-Las Campanas.

Rotation of Early B-type Stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud: The Role of Evolution and Metallicity
I present measurements of the projected rotational velocities of asample of 100 early B-type main-sequence stars in the Large MagellanicCloud (LMC). This is the first extragalactic study of the distributionof stellar rotational velocities. The sample is drawn from two sources:from the vicinity of the main-sequence turnoff of young clusters (ages1-3×107yr) and from the general field. I find that thecluster population exhibits significantly more rapid rotation than thatseen in the field. I have drawn analogous Galactic cluster and fieldsamples from the literature. Comparison of these samples reveals thesame effect. I propose that the observed difference between cluster andfield populations can be explained by a scenario of evolutionaryenhancement of the surface angular momentum over the main-sequencelifetime. A comparison is made between the cluster and field populationsof the LMC and the Galaxy in order to explore the effects ofmetallicity. This shows that the stars of the LMC are more rapidrotators than their Galactic counterparts.

Theoretical isochrones for the Delta a photometric system
We have calculated theoretical isochrones for the photometric Delta asystem to derive astrophysical parameters such as the age, reddening anddistance modulus for open clusters. The Delta a system samples the fluxdepression at 520 nm which is highly efficient to detect chemicallypeculiar (CP) objects of the upper main sequence. The evolutionarystatus of CP stars is still a matter of debate and very important totest, for example, the dynamo and diffusion theories. In fact, thedynamo or fossil origin of the magnetic fields present in this kind ofstar is still not clear. Using the stellar evolutionary models by Claret(\cite{Cla95}), a grid of isochrones with different initial chemicalcompositions for the Delta a system was generated. The published dataof 23 open clusters were used to fit these isochrones with astrophysicalparameters (age, reddening and distance modulus) from the literature. Asan additional test, isochrones with the same parameters for Johnson UBVdata of these open clusters were also considered. The fits show a goodagreement between the observations and the theoretical grid. We findthat the accuracy of fitting isochrones to Delta a data without theknowledge of the cluster parameters is between 5 and 15%.

The Subsystem of Open Clusters in the Post-Hipparcos Era: Cluster Structural Parameters and Proper Motions
The wide neighborhoods of 401 open clusters are analyzed using themodern, high-precision, homogeneous ASCC-2.5 all-sky catalog. More than28000 possible cluster members (including about 12500 most probablemembers) are identified using kinematic and photometric criteria. Starcounts with the ASCC-2.5 and USNO-A2.0 catalogs are used to determinethe angular and linear radii of the cluster cores and coronas, whichexceed the previously published values by factors of two to three. Thesegregation (differing central concentration) of member stars bymagnitude is observed. The mean proper motions are determined directlyin the Hipparcos system for 401 clusters, for 183 of them for the firsttime. The heliocentric distances of 118 clusters are determined for thefirst time based on color-magnitude diagrams for their identifiedmembers.

On the Galactic Disk Metallicity Distribution from Open Clusters. I. New Catalogs and Abundance Gradient
We have compiled two new open cluster catalogs. In the first one, thereare 119 objects with ages, distances, and metallicities available, whilein the second one, 144 objects have both absolute proper motion andradial velocity data, of which 45 clusters also have metallicity dataavailable. Taking advantage of the large number of objects included inour sample, we present an iron radial gradient of about -0.063+/-0.008dex kpc-1 from the first sample, which is quite consistentwith the most recent determination of the oxygen gradient from nebulaeand young stars, about -0.07 dex kpc-1. By dividing clustersinto age groups, we show that the iron gradient was steeper in the past,which is consistent with the recent result from Galactic planetarynebulae data, and also consistent with inside-out galactic diskformation scenarios. Based on the cluster sample, we also discuss themetallicity distribution, cluster kinematics, and space distribution. Adisk age-metallicity relation could be implied by those properties,although we cannot give conclusive result from the age- metallicitydiagram based on the current sample. More observations are needed formetal-poor clusters. From the second catalog, we have calculated thevelocity components in cylindrical coordinates with respect to theGalactic standard of rest for 144 open clusters. The velocitydispersions of the older clusters are larger than those of youngclusters, but they are all much smaller than that of the Galactic thickdisk stars.

Proper Motions of Open Star Clusters and the Rotation Rate of the Galaxy
The mean proper motions of 167 Galactic open clusters withradial-velocity measurements are computed from the data of the Tycho-2catalog using kinematic and photometric cluster membership criteria. Theresulting catalog is compared to the results of other studies. The newproper motions are used to infer the Galactic rotation rate at the solarcircle, which is found to be ω0=+24.6±0.8 km s-1 kpc-1.Analysis of the dependence of the dispersion of ω0 estimates onheliocentric velocity showed that even the proper motions of clusterswith distances r>3 kpc contain enough useful information to be usedin kinematic studies demonstrating that the determination of propermotions is quite justified even for very distant clusters.

Morphological analysis of open clusters' propertiesII. Relationships projected onto the galactic plane
A morphological analysis study of open clusters' properties has beenachieved for a sample of 160 UBVCCD open star clusters of approximately128,000 stars near the galactic plane. The data was obtained and reducedfrom using the same reduction procedures, which makes this catalogue thelargest homogeneous source of open clusters' parameters.

Interstellar CN toward CH+-forming regions
Measurements on interstellar CN absorption are presented for stars inthree southern OB associations, NGC 2439, Vela OB1, and Cen OB1. CN isdetected in 21 out of 31 stars observed. The doublet ratio for the R(1)and P(1) lines of the (0, 0) band of the B 2Sigma+-X 2Sigma + violet system and acomparison of violet system data with measurements of the (1, 0) and (2,0) bands of the A 2Pi -X 2Sigma + redsystem are used to derive Doppler parameters and total column densities.Inferred CN column densities vary by more than an order of magnitude forlines of sight with similar CH column densities. Observations of the (0,0) band of the CH B 2Sigma --X 2Pisystem are used to revise previously published CH column densitiestoward the lines of sight studied in CN. Together with earlier resultson CH, CH+, and C2, the CN data presented hereprovide a homogeneous set of column densities and radial velocities ofdiatomic molecules in three individual translucent clouds. We use thesedata to study CN production via chemical models. Gas densities areinferred from models based on production via CH and C2 incool gas. Most sightlines in our sample test densities typical fordiffuse molecular gas (a few hundred cm-3 ) when theultraviolet flux permeating the gas is between 1 and 5 times the averageinterstellar flux. A few lines of sight indicate that CN is producedunder dark cloud conditions because relatively large densities areobtained or because this simple chemical scheme is unable to reproducethe observed CN columns. Low densities are indicated for directions withupper limits on CN. We add an ad hoc component of a number oflow-velocity (<10 km s-1) criss-crossing MHD shocks toexplain observed column densities of interstellar CH+. Theseshocks also produce about 10 to 30% of the total CH column along theline of sight.

Integrated photometric characteristics of galactic open star clusters
Integrated UBVRI photometric parameters of 140 galactic open clustershave been computed. Integrated I(V-R)0 and I(V-I)0colours as well as integrated parameters for 71 star clusters have beenobtained for the first time. These, in combination with published data,altogether 352 objects, are used to study the integrated photometriccharacteristics of the galactic open clusters. The I(MV)values range from -9.0 to -1.0 mag corresponding to a range in totalmass of the star clusters from ~ 25 to 4*E4 Msun.The integrated colours have a relatively narrow range, e.g., I(B-V){_0}varies from -0.4 to 1.2 mag. The scatter in integrated colours at agiven integrated magnitude can be understood in terms of differences infraction of red giants/supergiants in the clusters. The observedintegrated magnitudes and colours agree with the synthetic ones, exceptthe dependences of I(V-R)0 and I(V-I)0 colours forclusters younger than ~ 100 Myrs and also of the integrated magnitudesof oldest clusters. The large sample provides the most accurate agedependence of integrated magnitudes and colours determined so far. Theluminosity function of the I(MV) has a peak around -3.5 magand its slope indicates that only ~ 1% of the open clusters in thegalactic disc are brighter than I(MV)=-11 mag. No variationhas been found of integrated magnitude with galactocentric distance andmetallicity.

The blue to red supergiant ratio in young clusters at various metallicities
We present new determinations of the blue to red supergiant ratio (B/R)in young open clusters at various metallicities. For this purpose, weexamine the HR diagrams of 45 clusters in the Galaxy and of 4 clustersin the Magellanic Clouds. The identification of supergiants is based onspectroscopic measurements (with photometric counts to check theresults). The new counts confirm the increase of the B/R ratio when themetallicity increases with the following normalized relation:(B/R)/((B/R)sun) =~ 0.05* e3(Z)/(Zsun)}, where Zsun=0.02 and(B/R)sun is the value of B/R at Zsun which dependson the definition of B and R and on the age interval considered (e.g.for spectroscopic counts including clusters with log age between 6.8 and7.5, (B/R)sun =~ 3 when B includes O, B and A supergiants).

CCD photometric search for peculiar stars in open clusters. III. NGC 2439, NGC 3960, NGC 6134, NGC 6192 and NGC 6451
In total, more than 550 objects within the fields of five open clusterswere investigated in order to find classical chemically peculiar stars.One bona-fide CP candidate was detected in each of the open clusters NGC3960, NGC 6192 and NGC 6451. All three objects seem to be members of thecorresponding cluster, taking the results from our photometry as well asfrom the literature. For NGC 6192 and NGC 6451 we found widely differentinterstellar reddening values and therefore distances and ages in theliterature. From an analysis of published Johnson UBVRI photometry, wewere able to rule out a rather old age for NGC 6451. This is alsosupported by the finding of one peculiar object in this cluster withspectral type of about A2. Five variable objects within the field of NGC6134 were detected. The variability exceeds 10 times (or typically 0.03mag) the standard deviation of the weighted individual measurements. Butsince our observations were obtained mostly within one hour (typicalintegration times of five minutes per filter) on several nights within45 days, no light curves could be derived. For this cluster, some Amcandidates were reported for which we were not able to detect asignificant positive Delta a-value. Based on observations at ESO-LaSilla and\ UTSO-Las Campanas.

Morphological analysis of open clusters' propertiesI. Properties' estimations
A sample of 160 UBVCCD observations of open star clusters near thegalactic plane has been studied, and a catalogue of their propertiesobtained. The main photometrical properties have been re-estimated selfconsistently and the results have been compared with those of Lynga[Lynga, G., 1987. Catalog of Open Cluster Data, 5th Edition, StellarData Centers, Observatoire de Strasbourg, France].

Periodic Pattern in the Residual-Velocity Field of OB Associations
Not Available

The association surrounding NGC 2439
The structure of the field surrounding the Galactic cluster NGC 2439 isstudied utilizing uvbybeta photometry of bright OB stars. We collate allphotometric and kinematic data available to identify possible groupings.The stars of our sample show a large scatter in their distances, radialvelocities, proper motions and reddenings. We conclude that they do notbelong to a single stellar association. We find evidence of theexistence of three coherent structures at distances of 370 pc, 1 kpc,and 2.6-3.2 kpc. The high stellar density toward NGC 2439 is very likelydue to a decreased absorption in this direction, which poses some doubton the reality of the cluster. A comprehensive uvbybeta study of NGC2439 is required to clarify its nature. The spatial distribution of thestars and their reddening are used to characterise the spatialdistribution of the visual extinction in the region. The resultsobtained confirm previously determined constraints on the formationmechanism of interstellar CH+ towards the NGC 2439 field.Table 2 is only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymousftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/372/95

Open clusters in the third galactic quadrant. I. Photometry
We have performed a photometric survey of open clusters in the thirdGalactic quadrant in order to study the star formation history andspatial structure in the Canis Major-Puppis-Vela region. In this paperwe describe a catalogue of CCD U BV RI photometry of approximately 65000 stars in the fields of 30 open clusters. The data were obtained andreduced using the same telescope, the same reduction procedures, and thesame standard photometric system, which makes this catalogue the largesthomogeneous source of open cluster photometry so far. In subsequentpapers of this series, colour-colour and colour-magnitude diagrams willbe presented which, amongst other uses, will allow the determination ofan homogeneous set of cluster reddenings, distances, and ages that willconstitute the observational basis for our studies of the spatialstructure and star formation history in the third Galactic quadrant.

Trigonometric Parallaxes and a Kinematically Adjusted Distance Scale for OB Associations
By directly comparing the photometric distances of Blaha and Humphreys(1989) (BH) to OB associations and field stars with the correspondingHipparcos trigonometric parallaxes, we show that the BH distance scaleis overestimated, on average, by 10-20%. This result is independentlycorroborated by applying the rigorous statistical-parallax method andits simplified analog (finding a kinematically adjusted rotation-curvesolution from radial velocities and proper motions) to a sample of OBassociations. These two methods lead us to conclude that the BH distancescale for OB associations should be shrunk, on average, by 11 +/- 6 and24 +/- 10 %, respectively. Kinematical parameters have been determinedfor the system of OB associations: u_0 = 8.2 +/- 1.3 km/s, v_0= 11.9 +/-1.1 km/s, w_0 = 9.5 +/- 0.9 km/s, sigma_u = 8.2 +/- 1.1 km/s, sigma_v =5.8 +/- 0.8 km/s, sigma_w = 5.0 +/- 0.8 km/s, Omega_0 = 29.1 +/- 1.0km/s/kpc, (Omega_0)' = -4.57 +/- 0.20 km/s/kpc^2, and (Omega_0)'' = 1.32+/- 0.14 km/s/kpc^3. The distance scale for OB associations reduced by20% matches the short Cepheid distance scale (Berdnikov and Efremov1985; Sitnik and Mel'nik 1996). Our results are a further argument forthe short distance scale in the Universe.

Absolute proper motions of open clusters. I. Observational data
Mean proper motions and parallaxes of 205 open clusters were determinedfrom their member stars found in the Hipparcos Catalogue. 360 clusterswere searched for possible members, excluding nearby clusters withdistances D < 200 pc. Members were selected using ground basedinformation (photometry, radial velocity, proper motion, distance fromthe cluster centre) and information provided by Hipparcos (propermotion, parallax). Altogether 630 certain and 100 possible members werefound. A comparison of the Hipparcos parallaxes with photometricdistances of open clusters shows good agreement. The Hipparcos dataconfirm or reject the membership of several Cepheids in the studiedclusters. Tables 1 and 2 are only available in electronic form at theCDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr ( or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/Abstract.html

The distribution of bright OB stars in the Canis Major-Puppis-Vela region of the Milky Way
The picture of the young stellar groups in the Canis Major-Puppis-Vela(215 deg

Interstellar C_2 absorption lines towards CH+ forming regions
Interstellar C_2 absorption line observations towards the southern OBassociations NGC 2439, Vela OB1, and Cen OB1 are used to infergaskinetic temperatures Tkin and densities nctowards lines of sight with previously determined large CH andCH+ column densities. Towards NGC 2439, the material ischaracterised by temperatures of Tkin = 75-85 K and densitiesexceeding nc > 1000 C_2m, and a fractional C_2 abundanceof about x(C_2) = 1.5 10-8. Temperatures and densitiesinferred towards two stars in Vela OB1 are Tkin = 65-85 K andnc >= 600 C_2m. C_2 fractional abundances in the cloudcomplex obscuring Vela OB1 are about half the value found in NGC 2439.For the lines of sight towards Cen OB1, values of Tkin =70-95 K and fractional abundances of x(C_2) ~ 5 10-9 arefound, and towards HD 114213, Tkin = 25 K and nc =400+/-100 C_2m. The observations demonstrate that C_2 resides in coolgas at temperature of Tkin < 100 K. The C_2 columndensities are correlated with those of CH, which is expected fromtheoretical models. This suggests that CH is efficiently formed in thecool material as well, together with C_2. This finding does not supportexpectations from recent MHD and vortex models of CH+formation, which stipulate that neutrals such as CH are abundantlyproduced in hot regions of many 100 K temperature.

Statistical parallaxes and kinematical parameters of classical Cepheids and young star clusters
The statistical-parallax method is applied for the first time to spacevelocities of 270 classical Cepheids with proper motions adopted fromHIPPARCOS (1997) and TRC (Hog et al. 1998) catalogs and distances basedon the period-luminosity relation by Berdnikov et al. (1996). Thedistance scale of short-period Cepheids (with periods less than 9 days)is shown to require an average correction of 15-20%, whereas statisticalparallaxes of Cepheids with periods > 9 days are found to agree wellwith photometric distances. It is shown that the luminosities ofshort-period Cepheids must have been underestimated partly due to thecontamination of this subsample by a substantial (20 to 40%) fraction offirst-overtone pulsators. The statistical-parallax technique is alsoapplied for the first time to 117 open clusters younger than 100 millionyears and with proper motions reduced to the HIPPARCOS reference system.It is concluded that a 0.12-0.15 mag increase of the distance scales ofopen clusters and Cepheids would be sufficient to reconcile thestatistical-parallax results inferred for these two types of objects.Such approach leads to an LMC distance modulus of less than 18.40 mag,which agrees, within the errors, with the short distance scale for RRLyrae variables and is at variance with the conclusions by Feast andCatchpole (1998) and Feast et al. (1998), who argue that the LMCdistance modulus should be increased to 18.70 mag. The distance scalebased on the Cepheid period-luminosity relation by Berdnikov and Efremov(1985) seems to be a good compromise. Extragalactic distances, whichrely on long-period Cepheids, seem to require no substantial correction.In addition to statistical parallaxes, kinematical parameters have beeninferred for the combined sample consisting of Cepheids andopen-clusters: solar-motion components (U0 ,V0,W0) = (9, 12, 7) km/s (+/- 1 km/s); velocity-ellipsoid axes(σU; σV; σW) = (15.0,10.3, 8.5) km/s (+/- 1 km/s); the angular velocity of rotation of thesubsystem, ω0 = 28.7 +/- 1 km/s/kpc, the Oort constantA = 17.4 +/- 1.5 km/s, and the second derivative of angular velocity,⋰ω0= 1.15 +/- 0.2 km/s/kpc3.

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Observation and Astrometry data

Right ascension:07h40m48.00s
Apparent magnitude:6.9

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NGC 2000.0NGC 2439

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