The Massive Progenitor of the Type II-Linear Supernova 2009kr
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We present early-time photometric and spectroscopic observations of supernova (SN) 2009kr in NGC 1832. We find that its properties to date support its classification as Type II-linear (SN II-L), a relatively rare subclass of core-collapse supernovae (SNe). We have also identified a candidate for the SN progenitor star through comparison of pre-explosion, archival images taken with WFPC2 on board the Hubble Space Telescope with SN images obtained using adaptive optics plus NIRC2 on the 10 m Keck-II telescope. Although the host galaxy's substantial distance (similar to 26 Mpc) results in large uncertainties in the relative astrometry, we find that if this candidate is indeed the progenitor, it is a highly luminous (M(V)(0) = -7.8 mag) yellow supergiant with initial mass similar to 18-24 M(circle dot). This would be the first time that an SN II-L progenitor has been directly identified. Its mass may be a bridge between the upper initial mass limit for the more common Type II-plateau SNe and the inferred initial mass estimate for one Type II-narrow SN.