The Progenitor of Supernova 1993J Revisited
Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
From Hubble Space Telescope images with 0.05" resolution we identify four stars brighter than V=25 mag within 2.5" of SN 1993J in M81 which contaminated previous ground-based brightness estimates for the supernova progenitor. Correcting for the contamination, we find that the energy distribution of the progenitor is consistent with that of an early K-type supergiant star with M_V \~ -7.0 +/- 0.4 mag and an initial mass of 13--22 Msun. The brightnesses of the nearby stars are sufficient to
... sufficient to account for the excess blue light seen from the ground in pre-explosion observations. Therefore, the SN 1993J progenitor did not necessarily have a blue companion, although by 2001, fainter blue stars are seen in close proximity to the supernova. These observations do not strongly limit the mass of a hypothetical companion. A blue dwarf star with a mass up to 30 Msun could have been orbiting the progenitor without being detected in the ground-based images. Explosion models and observations show that the SN 1993J progenitor had a helium-rich envelope. To test whether the helium abundance could influence the energy distribution of the progenitor, we calculated model supergiant atmospheres with a range of plausible helium abundances. The models show that the pre-supernova colors are not strongly affected by the helium abundance longward of 4000 A, and abundances ranging between solar and 90% helium (by number) are all consistent with the observations.