SCYON Abstract

Received on January 4 2001

Star Formation in Clusters: Subclustering, Cloud Fragmentation and the Origin of the Stellar IMF

Authors L. Testi
AffiliationOsservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, I-50125 Firenze, Italy
Accepted byModes of Star Formation and the Origin of Field Populations, ASP Conf. Series, ed. E. Grebel & W. Brandner


We review recent high spatial resolution millimeter continuum and spectral line observations of (proto-)cluster regions. These observations reveal that the mass distribution of prestellar cores is consistent with the initial mass function for field stars suggesting that the IMF is connected to the molecular clouds structure or the cloud fragmentation processes, rather than the details of the star formation mechanism. We discuss the evidence for at-birth subclustering independently obtained for two separate protoclusters. The presence of subclustering within coherent subclumps suggests that the fragmentation process is hierarchical and that young stellar clusters are assembled by independent substructures. The local (proto-)stellar density and star formation efficiency within the subclusters are much higher than the average values for the entire star forming cloud. Unfortunately, current observations are sparse and limited to the nearest star forming regions, for spatial resolution and sensitivity considerations, the future millimeter wave arrays, especially ALMA, will allow to expand considerably the sample of observed regions.