The Unsolved Problem of Star Formation: Dusty Dense Cores and the Origin of Stellar Masses
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The development of a predictive theory of star formation is one of the prime goals of modern astrophysics. The problem of star formation is a very complex one and its solution depends critically on empirical data. In this contribution, I review some of the progress that has been achieved in identifying and measuring the fundamental boundary and initial conditions that constrain the solution and must be met by any complete theory of star formation. In particular, I discuss what is known about the stellar IMF and the nature of dense cores on the verge of star formation. I then discuss how these two topics contribute to our general understanding of the origin of stellar mass, the key mystery in the star formation process.
KeywordsStar Formation Molecular Cloud Dense Core Embed Cluster Star Formation Process
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