Detection of a Red Supergiant Progenitor Star of a Type II-Plateau Supernova

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Science  23 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5657, pp. 499-503
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092967

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We present the discovery of a red supergiant star that exploded as supernova 2003gd in the nearby spiral galaxy M74. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the Gemini Telescope imaged this galaxy 6 to 9 months before the supernova explosion, and subsequent HST images confirm the positional coincidence of the supernova with a single resolved star that is a red supergiant of Math solar masses. This confirms both stellar evolution models and supernova theories predicting that cool red supergiants are the immediate progenitor stars of type II–plateau supernovae.

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