A deeper search for the progenitor of the Type Ic supernova 2002ap

Rhonda Crockett, Stephen Smartt, John Eldridge, Seppo Mattila, D.R. Young, Andrea Pastorello, Justyn Maund, Chris Benn, Ian Skillen

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53 Citations (Scopus)


Images of the site of the Type Ic supernova (SN) 2002ap taken before explosion were analysed previously by Smartt et al. We have uncovered new unpublished, archival pre-explosion images from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) that are vastly superior in depth and image quality. In this paper we present a further search for the progenitor star of this unusual Type Ic SN. Aligning high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope observations of the SN itself with the archival CFHT images allowed us to pinpoint the location of the progenitor site on the groundbased observations. We find that a source visible in the B- and R-band pre-explosion images close to the position of the SN is (1) not coincident with the SN position within the uncertainties of our relative astrometry and (2) is still visible similar to 4.7-yr post-explosion in late-time observations taken with the William Herschel Telescope. We therefore conclude that it is not the progenitor of SN 2002ap. We derived absolute limiting magnitudes for the progenitor of M-B >= -4.2 +/- 0.5 and M-R >= -5.1 +/- 0.5. These are the deepest limits yet placed on a Type Ic SN progenitor. We rule out all massive stars with initial masses greater than 7-8 M-circle dot (the lower mass limit for stars to undergo core collapse) that have not evolved to become Wolf-Rayet stars. This is consistent with the prediction that Type Ic SNe should result from the explosions of Wolf-Rayet stars. Comparing our luminosity limits with stellar models of single stars at appropriate metallicity (Z = 0.008) and with standard mass-loss rates, we find no model that produces a Wolf-Rayet star of low enough mass and luminosity to be classed as a viable progenitor. Models with twice the standard mass-loss rates provide possible single star progenitors but all are initially more massive than 30-40 M-circle dot. We conclude that any single star progenitor must have experienced at least twice the standard mass-loss rates, been initially more massive than 30-40 M-circle dot and exploded as a Wolf-Rayet star of final mass 10-12 M-circle dot. Alternatively a progenitor star of lower initial mass may have evolved in an interacting binary system. Mazzali et al. propose such a binary scenario for the progenitor of SN 2002ap in which a star of initial mass 15-20 M-circle dot is stripped by its binary companion, becoming a 5 M-circle dot Wolf-Rayet star prior to explosion. We constrain any possible binary companion to a main-sequence star of
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-850
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science


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