The structures of embedded clusters

Stefan Schmeja*
Zentrum fÄur Astronomie der UniversitÄat Heidelberg, Institut fÄur Theoretische Astrophysik, Albert-Ueberle-Str. 2, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

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Stars are usually formed in clusters in the dense cores of molecular clouds. These embedded clusters show a wide variety of morphologies from hierarchical clusters with substructure, to centrally condensed ones. Often they are elongated and surrounded by a low-density stellar halo. The structure of an embedded cluster, i.e. the spatial distribution of its members, seems to be linked to the complex structure of the parental molecular cloud and holds important clues about the formation mechanism and the initial conditions, as well as about the subsequent evolution of the cluster.

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Keywords : open clusters and associations: general - stars: formation - ISM: clouds - ISM: kinematics and dynamics.