We use the Hipparcos survey to derive an improved model of the local galactic structure. The availability of parallaxes for all the stars permits direct determination of stellar distributions, eliminating the basic indeterminacy of classical methods based on star counts. Hipparcos gives for the
first time a truly three-dimensional view of the solar vicinity, and a complete, homogeneous and highly accurate set of magnitudes and colours. This means that new techniques can be applied in the treatment of the data which place strong constraints on a model that tries to describe the local Galactic structure. Here we investigate how well a static model of low complexitycan describe the Hipparcos observations.
The interpretation of the Hipparcos data is complicated by various observational errors and selection effects that are hard to treat correctly. We do not try to correct the data, but instead use a model and subject this model to the same observational errors and selection effects. A model catalogue is created that can be compared with the observed catalogue directly in the observational domain, thereby eliminating the effects from various biases.
Many features in the HR diagram are for the first time seen in field stars thanks to Hipparcos, such as the slanted red giant clump, previously seen in rich old open clusters such as Berkeley 18. This and other features ofthe observed HR diagram are well reproduced by the model thanks to the rather detailed modelling of the joint Mv/B — V distribution. Actually, separate distributions were derived for the three different components, disk, thick disk and halo, using the kinematic characteristics of the components to discriminate between them.