Observations of the IMF in Clusters

Ascenso, Joana; Alves, João
Star Clusters in the Era of Large Surveys, Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings, ISBN 978-3-642-22112-5. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, p. 231 (2012).


The Initial Mass Function (IMF) is a seemingly a universal outcome of the star formation process. Over the last five decades it has been measured in young clusters and associations, in old globulars and in the field, in the Milky Way and in neighboring galaxies, covering regions spanning a wide range of physical conditions. The result is always similar: a Salpeter-like mass distribution for the higher masses and a subsequent flattening for lower masses. As we analyse more distant and dense clusters, however, our ability to measure the IMF properly becomes severely hampered by crowding.