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Physics Colloquium Series: Professor Bruce Wilking
(Physics Lecture Series) University of Missouri-St. Louis, Department of Physics and Astronomy
“Formation of Low Mass Stars and Substellar Objects”
Stars form in filamentary clouds of cold and dense molecular gas. Recent evidence that the majority of stars in the Galaxy are born in embedded star clusters will be reviewed. Using infrared imaging to study these clusters, one can gain insight into the formation and evolution of young stellar objects and the timescales for their evolution. Through infrared spectroscopy, the ages and masses of young stars can be inferred as well as their dynamical evolution. The “initial mass function” for a cluster can also be constructed for comparison with other clusters including the frequency of substellar mass objects called brown dwarfs. The embedded cluster in the nearby Rho Ophiuchi molecular cloud will be presented as an example.