AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 56. Supernovae Potpourri
Poster, Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[56.01U] Photometry of SK-69 202, the Progenitor of SN 1987A, from 1897 to 1948

R.M. Plotkin (U. of Michigan and Maria Mitchell Obs.), G.C. Clayton (Louisiana St. U. and Maria Mitchell Obs.)

The progenitor star of SN 1987A, Sk-69 202, was a B3Ia star not expected to become a supernova, and, therefore, it is important to acquire knowledge about its pre-supernova behavior to gain a better understanding of the supernova event. We investigated possible long-term variability of SK-69 202 on a large sample of blue sensitive photographic plates located at the Harvard College Observatory Plate Archives. The observed plates covered the time range 1897-1948, with the majority from 1923-1946, comprising a unique dataset. No variability of the star was found at the 0.5 mag level, which is consistent with the results of previous studies on its variability. How these results fit into the context of the present understanding of the evolution of SK-69 202 is discussed. This project was supported by the NSF/REU grant AST-0097694 and the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association.

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