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From Filamentary Networks to Dense Cores in Molecular Clouds: Toward a New Paradigm for Star Formation

From Filamentary Networks to Dense Cores in Molecular Clouds: Toward a New Paradigm for Star Formation

Publication date: 01 January 2014

Authors: Ph. André et al.

Journal: Protostars and Planets VI
Issue: Eds. H. Beuther, R. Klessen, C. Dullemond, Th. Henning
Page: Review chapter
Year: 2014

Copyright: University of Arizona Press

Recent studies of the nearest star-forming clouds of the Galaxy at submillimeter wavelengths with the Herschel Space Observatory have provided us with unprecedented images of the initial and boundary conditions of the star-formation process. The Herschel results emphasize the role of interstellar filaments in the star-formation process and connect remarkably well with nearly a decade's worth of numerical simulations and theory that have consistently shown that the interstellar medium (ISM) should be highly filamentary on all scales, and star formation is intimately related to self-gravitating filaments. In this review, we trace how the apparent complexity of cloud structure and star formation is governed by relatively simple universal processes --- from filamentary clumps to galactic scales. We emphasize two crucial and complementary aspects: (1) the key observational results obtained with Herschel over the past three years, along with relevant new results obtained from the ground on the kinematics of interstellar structures; and (2) the key existing theoretical models and the many numerical simulations of interstellar cloud structure and star formation. We then synthesize a comprehensive physical picture that arises from the confrontation of these observations and simulations.

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