Weighing stars from birth to death: mass determination methods across the HRD

Aldo Serenelli, Achim Weiss, Conny Aerts, George C. Angelou, David Baroch, Nate Bastian, Maria Bergemann, Joachim M. Bestenlehner, Ian Czekala, Nancy Elias-Rosa, Ana Escorza, Vincent Van Eylen, Diane K. Feuillet, Davide Gandolfi, Mark Gieles, Leo Girardi, Nicolas Lodieu, Marie Martig, Marcelo M. Miller Bertolami, Joey S. G. Mombarg, Juan Carlos Morales, Andres Moya, Benard Nsamba, Kresimir Pavlovski, May G. Pedersen, Ignasi Ribas, Fabian R. N. Schneider, Victor Silva Aguirre, Keivan Stassun, Eline Tolstoy, Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay, Konstanze Zwintz

Weighing stars from birth to death: mass determination methods across the HRD
See arXiv version
Invited review article for The Astronomy and Astrophysics Review. 129 pages, 15 figures, 10 tables. Comments welcome


The mass of a star is the most fundamental parameter for its structure, evolution, and final fate. It is particularly important for any kind of stellar archaeology and characterization of exoplanets. There exists a variety of methods in astronomy to estimate or determine it. In this review we present a significant number of such methods, beginning with the most direct and model-independent approach using detached eclipsing binaries. We then move to more indirect and model-dependent methods, such as the quite commonly used isochrone or stellar track fitting. The arrival of quantitative asteroseismology has opened a completely new approach to determine stellar masses and to complement and improve the accuracy of other methods. We include methods for different evolutionary stages, from the pre-main sequence to evolved (super)giants and final remnants. For all methods uncertainties and restrictions will be discussed. We provide lists of altogether more than 200 benchmark stars with relative mass accuracies between \([0.3,2]\%\) for the covered mass range of \(M\in [0.1,16]\,M_\odot\), \(75\%\) of which are stars burning hydrogen in their core and the other \(25\%\) covering all other evolved stages. We close with a recommendation how to combine various methods to arrive at a “mass-ladder” for stars.

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