Massive Black Holes Regulated by Luminous Blue Variable Mass Loss and Magnetic Fields

Jose H. Groh, Eoin J. Farrell, Georges Meynet, Nathan Smith, Laura Murphy, Andrew P. Allan, Cyril Georgy, Sylvia Ekstroem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We investigate the effects of mass loss during the main-sequence (MS) and post-MS phases of massive star evolution on black hole (BH) birth masses. We compute solar metallicity Geneva stellar evolution models of an 85 star with mass-loss rate prescriptions for MS and post-MS phases and analyze under which conditions such models could lead to very massive BHs. Based on the observational constraints for of luminous stars, we discuss two possible scenarios that could produce massive BHs at high metallicity. First, if a massive BH progenitor evolves from the observed population of massive MS stars known as WNh stars, we show that its average post-MS mass-loss rate has to be less than . However, this is lower than the typical observed mass-loss rates of luminous blue variables (LBV). Second, a massive BH progenitor could evolve from a yet undetected population of 80-85 stars with strong surface magnetic fields, which could quench mass loss during the evolution. In this case, the average mass-loss rate during the post-MS LBV phase has to be less than 5 × 10-5 BHs. We suggest that LBVs that explode as SNe have large envelopes and small cores that could be prone to explosion, possibly evolving from binary interaction (either mergers or mass gainers that do not fully mix). Conversely, LBVs that directly collapse to BHs could have evolved from massive single stars or binary-star mergers that fully mix, possessing large cores that would favor BH formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number98
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 10 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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