The age and progenitor mass of Sirius B

James Liebert, Patrick A. Young, David Arnett, J. B. Holberg, Kurtis A. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The Sirius AB binary system has masses that are well determined from many decades of astrometric measurements. Because of the well-measured radius and luminosity of Sirius A, we employed the TYCHO stellar evolution code to determine the age of the Sirius AB binary system accurately, at 225-250 Myr, Note that this fit requires the assumption of solar abundance and the use of the new Asplund et al. primordial solar metallicity. No fit to Sirius A's position is possible using the old Grevesse & Sauval scale. Because the Sirius B white dwarf parameters have also been determined accurately from space observations, the cooling age could be determined from recent calculations by Fontaine et al. or Wood to be 124 ± 10 Myr. The difference in the two ages yields the nuclear lifetime and mass of the original primary star, 5.056-0.276+0.374M. This result yields, in principle, the most accurate data point at relatively high masses for the initial-to-final mass relation. However, the analysis relies on the assumption that the primordial abundance of the Sinus stars was solar, based on membership in the Sirius supercluster. A recent study suggests that its membership in the group is by no means certain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L69-L72
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Stars: atmospheres
  • Stars: fundamental parameters
  • White dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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