An inverse method to interpret colour-magnitude diagrams

J.-L.Vergely, J.Köppen, D.Egret, O.Bienaymé

ABSTRACT An inverse method is developed to determine the star formation history, the age-metallicity relation, and the IMF slope from a colour-magnitude diagram. The method is applied to the Hipparcos HR diagram. We found that the thin disk of our Galaxy shows a peak of stellar formation 1.6 Gyr ago. The stars close to the Sun have a solar metallicity and a mean IMF index equal to 3.2. However, the model and the evolutionary tracks do not correctly reproduce the horizontal giant branch.