The Galactic open clusters, in particular the oldest members, serve as excellent probes of the structure and evolution of the Galactic disk. Individual clusters provide excellent tests of stellar and dynamical evolution. Cluster spatial and age distributions provide insight into the processes of cluster formation and destruction that have allowed substantial numbers of old open clusters to survive. Spectroscopic and photometric data for the old clusters yield kinematic, abundance, and age information that clarifies the relationship between the old open cluster population and other Galactic populations. New samples of old open clusters, which span a large range in distance and age, are used to define disk abundance gradients and the cluster age-metallicity relationship, and they point to a complex history of chemical enrichment and mixing in the disk.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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