Luminous blue variables and the fates of very massive stars

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38 Scopus citations


Luminous blue variables (LBVs) had long been considered massive stars in transition to the Wolf-Rayet (WR) phase, so their identification as progenitors of some peculiar supernovae (SNe) was surprising. More recently, environment statistics of LBVs show that most of them cannot be in transition to the WR phase after all, because LBVs are more isolated than allowed in this scenario. Additionally, the high-mass H shells around luminous SNe IIn require that some very massive stars above 40M die without shedding their H envelopes, and the precursor outbursts are a challenge for understanding the final burning sequences leading to core collapse. Recent evidence suggests a clear continuum in pre-SN mass loss from super-luminous SNe IIn, to regular SNe IIn, to SNe II-L and II-P, whereas most strippedenvelope SNe seem to arise from a separate channel of lower-mass binary stars rather than massive WR stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20160268
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2105
StatePublished - Oct 28 2017


  • Mass loss
  • Stellar evolution
  • Stellar winds
  • Supernovae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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