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Fragmentation in Massive Star Formation

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Science  20 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5661, pp. 1167-1169
DOI: 10.1126/science.1094014

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Abstract

Studies of evolved massive stars indicate that they form in a clustered mode. During the earliest evolutionary stages, these regions are embedded within their natal cores. Here we present high-spatial-resolution interferometric dust continuum observations disentangling the cluster-like structure of a young massive star–forming region. The derived protocluster mass distribution is consistent with the stellar initial mass function. Thus, fragmentation of the initial massive cores may determine the initial mass function and the masses of the final stars. This implies that stars of all masses can form via accretion processes, and coalescence of intermediate-mass protostars appears not to be necessary.

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