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The Australia Telescope National Facility Colloquium
15:30-16:30 Wed 08 Jun 2011

ATNF Marsfield Lecture Theatre

Joao Alves

(University of Vienna)

An empirical view on the formation of stellar clusters: self-triggering - Joao Alves Colloquium

Star formation configures our Universe and observations suggest most stars originate in clusters. But because of the large physical scales involved we do not have a working theory of star formation, one that could explain, for example, why the stellar product (the IMF) is "universal" nor why is the clustered mode favored by nature. In this talk I will review briefly the current cluster formation scenarios, their successes and shortcomings, and based on observational evidence I will suggest a new scenario for cluster formation. In this new scenario massive stars form first and play a critical role on the formation of a cluster, effectively synchronizing the collapse of an ensemble of dense cores in a molecular cloud clump. This scenario has the potential to provide a natural explanation for an "universal" IMF under very different physical conditions. Observational evidence for and against this scenario will be discussed.

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