The Solar Neighbourhood

  • I. Neill ReidEmail author
Part of the Saas-Fee Advanced Course book series (SAASFEE, volume 42)


The stars currently lying in the immediate vicinity of the Sun are the products of numerous star-forming events spread over a wide-range of Galactic radii and environments within the disc of the Milky Way. As such, these local stars provide a means of assessing global properties, notably the binary fraction, the luminosity function and the initial mass function (IMF), the number of stars forming as a function of mass within a molecular cloud. The IMF is a crucial parameter in understanding galaxy evolution since the relative number of high- and low-mass stars determines what fraction of material is reprocessed and returned to the interstellar medium to enrich new stellar generations, and what fraction is effectively locked up forever in long-lived dwarfs. As discussed in this chapter, most evidence is consistent with the IMF having a universal form, although there are intriguing indications for variations in some extreme environments. These analyses rest on statistical techniques that are susceptible to systematic bias; the appendix to this chapter describes how to estimate the extent of some of those effects, notably Malmquist bias and Lutz-Kelker corrections.


Star Formation Mass Function Star Cluster Luminosity Function Galactic Disc 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Space Telescope Science InstituteBaltimoreUSA

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