The Initial Mass Function: From Salpeter 1955 to 2005
Fifty years after Ed Salpeter’s seminal paper, tremendous progress both on the observational and theoretical sides allow a fairly accurate determination of the Galactic IMF not only down to the hydrogen-burning limit but into the brown dwarf domain. The present review includes the most recent observations of lowmass stars and brown dwarfs to determine this IMF and the related Galactic mass budget. The IMF definitely exhibits a similar behaviour in various environments, disk, young and globular clusters, spheroid. Small scale dissipation of large scale compressible MHD turbulence seems to be the underlying triggering mechanism for star formation. Modern simulations of compressible MHD turbulence yield an IMF consistent with the one derived from observations.
KeywordsStar Formation Globular Cluster Binary Frequency Luminosity Function Initial Mass Function
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