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The unexpectedly large proportion of high-mass star-forming cores in a Galactic mini-starburst

Motte, F., Nony, T., Louvet, F., Marsh, K. A. ORCID:, Bontemps, S., Whitworth, A. P. ORCID:, Men'shchikov, A., Nguyen Luong, Q., Csengeri, T., Maury, A. J., Gusdorf, A., Chapillon, E., Könyves, V., Schilke, P., Duarte Cabral, Ana ORCID:, Didelon, P. and Gaudel, M. 2018. The unexpectedly large proportion of high-mass star-forming cores in a Galactic mini-starburst. Nature Astronomy 2 (6) , pp. 478-482. 10.1038/s41550-018-0452-x

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Understanding the processes that determine the stellar initial mass function (IMF) is a critical unsolved problem, with profound implications for many areas of astrophysics1. In molecular clouds, stars are formed in cores—gas condensations sufficiently dense that gravitational collapse converts a large fraction of their mass into a star or small clutch of stars. In nearby star-formation regions, the core mass function (CMF) is strikingly similar to the IMF, suggesting that the shape of the IMF may simply be inherited from the CMF2,3,4,5. Here, we present 1.3 mm observations, obtained with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope, of the active star-formation region W43-MM1, which may be more representative of the Galactic-arm regions where most stars form6,7. The unprecedented resolution of these observations reveals a statistically robust CMF at high masses, with a slope that is markedly shallower than the IMF. This seriously challenges our understanding of the origin of the IMF.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 2397-3366
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 June 2018
Date of Acceptance: 26 March 2018
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 09:44

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