The Candidate Progenitor of the Type IIn SN 2010jl Is Not an Optically Luminous Star

Ori D. Fox, Schuyler D.Van Dyk, Eli Dwek, Nathan Smith, Alexei V. Filippenko, Jennifer Andrews, Richard G. Arendt, Ryan J. Foley, Patrick L. Kelly, Adam A. Miller, Isaac Shivvers

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14 Scopus citations


A blue source in pre-explosion Hubble Space Telescope (HST)/Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) images falls within the 5σ astrometric error circle (∼0.″24) derived from post-explosion ground-based imaging of SN 2010jl. At the time the ground-based astrometry was published, however, the SN had not faded sufficiently for post-explosion HST follow-up observations to determine a more precise astrometric solution and/or confirm if the pre-explosion source had disappeared, both of which are necessary to ultimately disentangle the possible progenitor scenarios. Here we present HST/WFC3 imaging of the SN 2010jl field obtained in 2014, 2015, and 2016 when the SN had faded sufficiently to allow for new constraints on the progenitor. The SN, which is still detected in the new images, is offset by 0.″061 ± 0.″008 (15 ± 2 pc) from the underlying and extended source of emission that contributes at least partially, if not entirely, to the blue source previously suggested as the candidate progenitor in the WFPC2 data. This point alone rules out the possibility that the blue source in the pre-explosion images is the exploding star, but may instead suggest an association with a young (<5-6 Myr) cluster and still argues for a massive (>30 M o) progenitor. We obtain new upper limits on the flux from a single star at the SN position in the pre-explosion WFPC2 and Spitzer/IRAC images that may ultimately be used to constrain the progenitor properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number222
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
E.D. acknowledges NASA's ADP13-0094 grant for support on this project. R.J.F. gratefully acknowledges support from NSF grant AST-1518052 and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


  • circumstellar matter
  • dust, extinction
  • infrared: stars
  • supernovae: general
  • supernovae: individual (SN 2010jl)


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