Very High-Mass Stars

Part of Hall of the Universe.

Diagram of Very High-Mass Stars (20–100 times that of Sun) from star exhibition AMNH/D. Finnin

20 to 100 Times the Sun’s Mass

In any batch of newly formed stars, the most massive ones are the rarest and shortest lived. Only one in about five hundred thousand stars has more than twenty times the mass of the Sun. In spite of their rarity, these stars are so luminous that they are easily seen at great distances.



Remnant: Black Hole

A very high-mass star collapses past the density of white dwarfs and past the density of neutron stars. As the star gets smaller, the gravity on its shrinking surface grows, severely warping the fabric of space. Eventually, space curves back upon itself, cutting off all contact with the rest of the universe. We cannot see, and do not know, what happens inside because nothing can escape the abyss, not even light. We call such objects black holes.