Neutron Star and Black Hole
Initial Mass Function


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Contact: F.X.Timmes
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Neutron star and black hole initial mass function (1996)

In this paper, we calculate models for the neutron star and black hole mass function (number of neutron stars and black holes as a function of their mass) for the Milky Way galaxy. For those stars that explode as Type II supernovae, the models give birth functions that are bimodal with peaks at 1.27 and 1.76 M and average masses within those peaks of 1.28 and 1.73 M. For stars that explode as Type Ib there is a narrower spread of remnant masses, the average being 1.32 M, and less evidence for bimodality. These values will be increased, especially in the more massive Type II supernovae, if significant accretion continues during the initial launching of the shock, and the number of heavier neutron stars could be depleted by black hole formation. The principal reason for the dichotomy in remnant masses for Type II is the difference in the presupernova structure of stars above and below 19 M, the mass separating stars that burn carbon convectively from those that produce less carbon and burn radiatively. Altogether there are about 109 neutron stars in our Galaxy and a comparable number of black holes.

Remnant masses for Z=0
Remnant masses for Z=Z
Bimodal mass distribution