Relativity and Cosmology


On the Origins of the Stellar Initial Mass Function

Authors: Golden Gadzirayi Nyambuya

In this reading, a new theoreticalmodel of star and cluster formation is posited. Thismodel seeks to set a mathematical framework to understand the origins of the stellar Initial Mass Function and within this framework, explain star and cluster formation from a unified perspective by tieing together into a single garment three important observational facts: (1) that the most massive stars of most observed clusters of stars are preferentially found in their centers; (2) Larson's 1982 empirical observation that the maximum stellar mass is related to the total mass of the parent cloud; (3) that clump masses in giant molecular clouds exhibit a power mass spectrum law akin to that found in star clusters and this behavior is also true for molecular clouds as well. Key to this model is the way the cloud fragments to form cores from which the new stars are born. We show that the recently proposed azimuthally symmetric theory of gravitation has two scale of fragmentation where one is the scale that leads to cloud collapse and the other is the scale on which the cloud fragments. The collapse and fragmentation takes place simultaneously. If the proposed model is anything to go by, then, one can safely posit that the slope of the IMF can be explained from two things: the star formation rate of the cores from which these stars form and the density index describing the density profile. Additionally and more importantly, if the present is anything to by, then, fragmentation of molecular clouds is posited as being a result of them possessing some spin angular momentum.

Comments: 12 pages, 2 figures, submitted to MNRAS-MJ.

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Submission history

[v1] 18 Mar 2010

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