Fr.: cœur pré-stellaire
A small, gravitationally unstable molecular → clump of typical size of less than 0.1 pc resulting from → gravitational collapse and → fragmentation of a larger → molecular cloud. It is a centrally concentrated structure which evolves into a → class 0 object, where eventually a single star or a stellar system is formed. Core masses range between 0.5 and 5 solar masses, with a mean number density of at least 104-105 cm-3, and a temperature as low as about 10 K. A pre-stellar core evolves into a → Class 0 object. Also called dense core.