AuthorWalker, Christopher Kidd.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractHow are stars formed? This is one of the most fundamental questions in astronomy. It is therefore ironic that to date, no object has been unambiguously identified as a true protostar; an object which derives the bulk of its luminosity from accretion. While this may be ironic, it is not surprising. Stars are believed to form as a result of the gravitational collapse of a portion of a molecular cloud. Theory predicts that the cloud core in which the star is formed will be cold, dense and possess hundreds of magnitudes of extinction, rendering it opaque at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. Continuum observations at far-infrared, submillimeter, and millimeter wavelengths can be used to identify candidate protostars, but spectroscopic observations are needed to detect infall. The difficulties arise when there are systematic velocity fields present in the cloud core which are not the result of infall, such as would be produced by either a molecular outflow or rotation. In this dissertation we use both observations and theoretical models to sort through these problems and develop a strategy which could be used to identify and study protostars.