How massive single stars end their life

A. Heger, C. L. Fryer, S. E. Woosley, N. Langer, D. D H Hartmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1397 Citations (Scopus)


How massive stars die - what sort of explosion and remnant each produces -depends chiefly on the masses of their helium cores and hydrogen envelopes at death. For single stars, stellar winds are the only means of mass loss, and these are a function of the metallicity of the star. We discuss how metallicity, and a simplified prescription for its effect on mass loss, affects the evolution and final fate of massive stars. We map, as a function of mass and metallicity, where black holes and neutron stars are likely to form and where different types of supernovae are produced. Integrating over an initial mass function, we derive the relative populations as a function of metallicity. Provided that single stars rotate rapidly enough at death, we speculate on stellar populations that might produce gamma-ray bursts and jet-driven supernovae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-300
Number of pages13
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Black hole physics
  • Gamma rays: bursts
  • Stars: early-type
  • Stars: neutron
  • Supernovae: general

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