Masses and progenitor evolutionary states of Type II supernovae remain almost unconstrained by direct observations. Only one robust observation of a progenitor (SN 1987A) and one plausible observation (SN 1993J) are available. Neither matched theoretical predictions, and in this Letter we report limits on a third progenitor (SN 1999gi). The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has imaged the site of the Type II-P supernova SN 1999gi with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) in two filters (F606W and F300W) prior to explosion. The distance to the host galaxy (NGC 3184) of 7.9 Mpc means that the most luminous, massive stars are resolved as single objects in the archive images. The supernova occurred in a resolved, young OB association 2.3 kpc from the center of NGC 3184 with an association age of about 4 Myr. Follow-up images of SN 1999gi with WFPC2 taken 14 months after discovery determine the precise position of the supernova on the preexplosion frames. An upper limit of the absolute magnitude of the progenitor is estimated (M-v greater than or equal to -5.1). By comparison with stellar evolutionary tracks, this can be interpreted as a stellar mass, and we determine an upper mass limit of 9(-2)(+3) M.. We discuss the possibility of determining the masses or mass limits for numerous nearby core-collapse supernovae using the HST archive enhanced by our current SNAP program.
|Number of pages||4|
|Issue number||1 PART 2|
|Publication status||Published - 20 Jul 2001|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Space and Planetary Science