The formation of stars
We review the process of star formation, detailing the theories underlying the stability of molecular clouds and their collapse to protostars, and discussing the empirical evidence and models which inform them. We give emphasis to the role that the magnetic field plays in influencing the stability of molecular clouds and hence the star formation rate. The end result of star formation is a mass function which appears constant within our Galaxy. A relative abundance of low mass stars is observed over high mass stars and most of the stars that do form are found to exist as members of a binary system. The origin of binarity is reviewed as is the discovery, formation and observations of some of the lowest mass stars known, the brown dwarfs.
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