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Paper: Star Formation as Revealed by Herschel
Volume: 476, New Trends in Radio Astronomy in the ALMA Era
Page: 95
Authors: André, P.; Könyves, V.; Arzoumanian, D.; Palmeirim, P.; Peretto, N.
Abstract: Recent studies of nearby interstellar clouds with the Herschel Space Observatory have provided us with unprecedented images of the initial conditions and early phases of the star formation process. Overall, the Herschel results favor a scenario in which interstellar filaments and prestellar cores represent two key steps in the star formation process: first turbulence stirs up the gas, giving rise to a universal web-like structure in the interstellar medium, then gravity takes over and controls the further fragmentation of filaments into prestellar cores and ultimately protostars. This scenario provides new insight into the origin of stellar masses and the global rate of star formation in galaxies. Despite an apparent complexity, global star formation may be governed by relatively simple universal laws from filament to galactic scales. ALMA will be instrumental in testing whether this scenario based on Herschel observations of nearby Galactic clouds is truly universal and applies to the ISM of all galaxies. ALMA is also a unique tool to study the most extreme cores found with Herschel (e.g. pre-brown dwarfs and massive protostellar cores) and has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the origin of both the low- and the high-mass end of the IMF.
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