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The deaths of massive stars

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A commonly-held view is that stars born with masses above ˜8Msun will die as supernovae (SNe) and leave behind a neutron star, whereas stars above some higher mass threshold (˜30Msun) will leave behind a black-hole (BH) with little or no SN. However, there have been recent claims that the mass threshold for BH production is much lower (˜17Msun). This would have important ramifications for other areas of astrophysics through its influence on the cosmic SN and BH production rates. In this talk I will take a critical look at the evidence for this result, and the outlook for improving its statistical significance.

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Colloquia series.

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