Submm Observations of Prestellar Condensations: Probing the Initial Conditions for the IMF
Several (sub)millimeter continuum surveys of nearby protoclusters have revealed prestellar condensations that seem to be the direct progenitors of individual stars and whose mass distribution resembles the IMF. In a number of cases, small internal and relative motions are measured for these protocluster condensations, indicating they are much less turbulent than their ambient cloud and do not have time to interact before collapsing to (proto)stars. These findings suggest that the IMF is at least partly determined by pre-collapse cloud fragmentation and that the main key to understanding the origin of stellar masses lies in the physical mechanisms responsible for the formation and decoupling of prestellar condensations within molecular clouds.
KeywordsMass Distribution Star Formation Velocity Dispersion Molecular Cloud Stellar Mass
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