Empirical Properties of Very Massive Stars
In this chapter we present the properties of the most massive stars known by the end of 2013. We start with a summary of historical claims for stars with masses in excess of several hundreds, even thousands of solar masses. We then describe how we determine masses for single stars. We focus on the estimates of luminosities and on the related uncertainties. We also highlight the limitations of evolutionary models used to convert luminosities into masses. The most luminous single stars in the Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds are subsequently presented. The uncertainties on their mass determinations are described. Finally, we present binary stars. After recalling some basics of binary analysis, we present the most massive binary systems and the estimates of their dynamical masses.
KeywordsLight Curve Effective Temperature Massive Star Mass Loss Rate Atmosphere Model
The author thanks Paul Crowther for discussions on the mass determination of the R136 stars.
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