Statistical Confirmation of a Stellar Upper Mass Limit

M. S. Oey$^1$ \& C. J. Clarke$^2$

1 - University of Michigan
2 - IoA, Cambridge

We derive the expectation value for the maximum stellar mass ($m_{\rm max}$)
in an ensemble of $N$ stars, as a function of the IMF upper-mass cutoff
($m_{\rm up}$) and $N$. We statistically demonstrate that the upper IMF of
the local massive star census observed thus far in the Milky Way and
Magellanic Clouds clearly exhibits a universal upper mass cutoff
around $120 - 200\ m_\odot$ for a Salpeter IMF, although the result is
more ambiguous for a steeper IMF.

Reference: Astrophysical Journal Letters
Status: Manuscript has been accepted