initial mass function

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A mathematical description of the relative frequency with which stars of various masses are formed; also known as the Salpeter function after the American astrophysicist Edwin Ernest Salpeter (1924–2008). Massive stars are less numerous than lighter ones. The frequency of stars more massive than the Sun decreases slightly more steeply than the inverse square of the mass. The frequency of stars up to the Sun's mass falls off less steeply than the inverse square of their mass.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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