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Session 39 - Supernovae.
Display session, Thursday, January 08
Exhibit Hall,

[39.02] SN 1961V: Infrared Detection of an Eta Carinae Analog

J. C. Shields (Ohio U.), A. V. Filippenko (UC-Berkeley)

SN 1961V in the galaxy NGC 1058 exhibited characteristics differing from Types I and II supernovae, and was classified by Zwicky (1964, ApJ, 139, 514) as a Type V object. Zwicky noted a resemblance between the behavior of SN 1961V and that of eta Carinae, and Goodrich et al. (1989, ApJ, 342, 908) and Filippenko et al. (1995, AJ, 110, 2261) have since argued that SN 1961V was, in fact, the eruption of a luminous blue variable star similar to eta Car, rather than a true supernova. In the current paper we will present the results of JHK imaging of the site of SN 1961V, acquired with the Keck I telescope. We find that the location of SN 1961V is now occupied by a very red point source. When combined with earlier optical photometry, our results are consistent with the presence of a luminous blue variable star subject to substantial reddening, presumably by dust that formed in ejecta accompanying the optical outburst. These findings strongly support the interpretation of SN 1961V as the eruption of a massive, evolved star, rather than as a genuine supernova.

Program listing for Thursday