Arguably the mass of a star is its most important property. Int this talk we will review what is known about the masses of the highest mass stars, stars whose luminosities approach (or exceed) the Eddington limit. We show that there is excellent agreement in the mass-luminosity relation determined from double-lined spectroscopic binaries and that derived from modern interior models, although there is a paucity of suitable binaries for the highest masses. There is a significant (factor of 2!) discrepancy between the masses predicted by stellar evolutionary models and stellar atmosphere models, and we discuss recent efforts to resolve this by using high-mass binaries. Finally, we discuss the ``upper mass cutoff" to the IMF---what is the highest mass that a star may have? Recent observations of the R136 cluster has demonstrated that we have yet to come across this limit in nature: that the limits we have encountered are statistical, not physical.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 1999