Submillimeter Studies of Prestellar Cores and Protostars: Probing the Initial Conditions for Protostellar Collapse
Improving our understanding of the earliest stages of star formation is crucial to gain insight into the origin of stellar masses, multiple systems, and protoplanetary disks. We discuss recent advances made in this area, thanks to submillimeter mapping observations with large single-dish telescopes and interferometers. Although ambipolar diffusion appears to be too slow cores, there is nevertheless good evidence that the gravitational collapse of isolated protostellar cores is strongly magnetically controlled. We also argue that the beginning of protostellar collapse is much more violent in cluster-forming clouds than in regions of distributed star formation.
KeywordsISM: structure ISM: gravitational collapse stars: protostellar accretion rates
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