The maximum mass of a neutron star

Vassiliki Kalogera*, Gordon Baym

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

229 Scopus citations


Observational identification of black holes as members of binary systems requires the knowledge of the upper limit on the gravitational mass of a neutron star. We use modern equations of state for neutron star matter, fitted to experimental nucleon-nucleon scattering data and the properties of light nuclei, to calculate, within the framework of Rhoades & Ruffini (1974), the minimum upper limit on a neutron star mass. Regarding the equation of state as valid up to twice nuclear matter saturation density, ρnm, we obtain a secure upper bound on the neutron star mass equal to 2.9 M. We also find that in order to reach the lowest possible upper bound of 2.2 M, we need to understand the physical properties of neutron matter up to a density of ∼4ρnm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L61-L64
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART II
StatePublished - Oct 10 1996


  • Dense matter
  • Stars: neutron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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