AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 51 Supernovae and Supernovae Remnants
Oral, Thursday, 10:00-11:30am, June 2, 2005, 102 C

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[51.01] Survivor: Supernova 1954J

S.D. Van Dyk (SSC/Caltech), A.V. Filippenko, R. Chornock, W. Li (UC Berkeley), P.M. Challis (CfA)

\noindent We confirm that the precursor of the unusual SN 1954J (also known as Variable 12) in the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 2403 survived what most resembled a super-outburst, analogous to the Great Eruption of \eta Carinae in 1843. The apparent survivor had changed little in brightness and color from 1996 to 2004. A spectrum obtained in 2002 at the Keck-II 10-m telescope reveals characteristics broadly similar to those of \eta Car. Furthermore, we have identified the actual outburst-surviving star in recent high-resolution images obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope\/ Advanced Camera for Surveys. We reveal this ``supernova impostor'' as a highly luminous (MV0 \approx -8.0 mag), very massive (M\rm ini \gtrsim 25\ M\odot) eruptive star, now surrounded by a dusty (AV \approx 4 mag) nebula, similar to \eta Car's Homunculus.

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: vandyk@ipac.caltech.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #2
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.