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The Australia Telescope National Facility Colloquium
15:30-16:30 Wed 30 Jul 2008

ATNF Marsfield Lecture Theatre

Dr Jill Rathborne

(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

Infrared Dark Clouds: precursors to star clusters - Dr Jill Rathborne Colloquium

Infrared Dark Clouds (IRDCs) are cold, dense molecular clouds identified as extinction features against the bright mid-IR Galactic background. Our recent 1.2 mm continuum emission survey of IRDCs reveal many compact (< 0.5 pc) and massive (10-2100 Msun) cores within them. These pre-stellar cores hold the key to understanding IRDCs and
their role in star formation. In this talk I will review our recent work on IRDCs and their embedded cores. We find that some of the high-mass cores are forming stars, while many are not. These 'high-mass starless cores' may represent the very earliest phase in the formation of high-mass stars. Moreover, the close proximity of multiple protostellar condensation of disparate mass within some of the IRDC cores indicates that IRDCs may be the earliest evolutionary state in the formation of stellar clusters.

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Tobias Westmeier

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