EPoS Contribution
EPoS Contribution
Fragmentation of Turbulent Molecular Clouds and Star Formation

Ralf Klessen
Institut fuer Theoretische Astrophysik, Zentrum fuer Astronomie der Universitaet Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
Stars form by gravoturbulent fragmentation of interstellar gas clouds. The supersonic turbulence ubiquitously observed in Galactic molecular gas generates strong density fluctuations with gravity taking over in the densest and most massive regions. Collapse sets in to build up stars and star clusters.

Turbulence plays a dual role. Or global scales it provides support, while at the same time it can promote local collapse. Stellar birth is thus intimately linked to the dynamical behavior of parental gas cloud, which governs when and where protostellar cores form, and how they contract and grow in mass via accretion from the surrounding cloud material to build up stars. The thermodynamic behavior of the star forming gas plays a crucial part in fragmentation and influences the stellar mass function as well as the dynamic properties of the nascent stellar cluster.

I will review the current discussion in star formation theory and compare results from numerical calculations of gravoturbulent cloud fragmentation in different environments.