Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 433, 931-940 (2005/4-3)
A low-absorption disk zone at low Galactic latitude in Centaurus.
BICA E., BONATTO C., SANTIAGO B.X. and KERBER L.O.
Abstract (from CDS):
We investigate the properties of two stellar concentrations in a low-absorption disk zone in Centaurus, located respectively at l=306.47°, b=-0.61°, and l=307.01°, b=-0.74°. The present analysis is based mostly on 2MASS photometry, as well as optical photometry. Based on colour-magnitude diagrams and stellar radial density profiles, we show that these concentrations are not open star clusters. Instead, they appear to be field stars seen through a differentially-reddened window. We estimate that the bulk of the stars in both stellar concentrations is located at ∼1.5kpc from the Sun, a distance consistent with that of the Sgr-Car arm in that direction. This low-absorption window allows one to probe into distant parts of the disk besides the Sgr-Car arm, probably the tangent part of the Sct-Cru arm, and/or the far side of the Sgr-Car arm in that direction. The main sequence associated to the Sgr-Car arm is reddened by E(B-V)∼0.5, so that this window through the disk is comparable in reddening to Baade's window to the bulge. We also investigate the nature of the open cluster candidate Ru166. The presently available data do not allow us to conclude whether Ru166 is an actual open cluster or field stars seen through a small-scale low-absorption window.