The Type II-P supernova SN 2004dj in the nearby galaxy NGC 2403 occurred at a position coincident with object 96 in the list of luminous stars and clusters in this galaxy published by Sandage in 1984. The coincidence is established definitively through astrometric registration of our ground-based archival images of NGC 2403 with our recent images showing the SN. The archival images show that Sandage 96 is slightly resolved from the ground. Preoutburst blue spectrograms obtained by Humphreys & Aaronson reveal that Sandage 96 has a composite spectrum, dominated in the blue region by A- and B-type stars, while infrared photometry shows that Sandage 96 also contains red supergiants. These results demonstrate that Sandage 96 is a young compact cluster. We have studied the stellar population of Sandage 96, using published photometric measurements combined with a X2 fitting code. We derive a cluster age of 13.6 Myr, a reddening of E(4405 - 5495) = 0.172, and a total stellar mass of 24,000 Mθ. For this cluster age, the SN progenitor had a main-sequence mass of 15 Mθ. Postoutburst photometry of Sandage 96 may establish whether the progenitor was a red or blue supergiant.
- Galaxies: Individual (NGC 2403)
- Galaxies: Star clusters
- Supernovae: General
- Supernovae: Individual (SN 2004dj)