Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
The problems of star and planet formation are among the most important challenges facing modern astrophysical research. Stars and their accompanying planetary systems are continuously being formed in the Galaxy enabling direct observation and investigation of the star forming process. However, stars form invisibly deep within cold and dark molecular clouds. Observations of these stellar birth sites at infrared and millimeter wavelengths from space and the ground have resulted in considerable progress toward a physical understanding of stellar origins. In this contribution I will review the empirical basis for our current understanding of the process of star formation with an emphasis on the origin of low mass (sunlike) stars.
to appear in "Origins: From Early Universe to Extrasolar Planets" Proceedings of the 19th Nishinomiya-Yukawa Memorial Symposium, Progress in Theoretical Physics, 2005 in press
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