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SN 2011ja was a bright (I=-18.3) Type II supernova occurring in the nearby edge on spiral galaxy NGC 4945. Flat-topped and multipeaked Ha and H β spectral emission lines appear between 64 and 84 d post-explosion, indicating interaction with a disc-like circumstellar medium inclined ~45° from edge-on. After day 84, an increase in the H- and K-band flux along with heavy attenuation of the red wing of the emission lines are strong indications of early dust formation, likely located in the cool dense shell created between the forward shock of the SN ejecta and the reverse shock created as the ejecta plows into the existing circumstellar material. Radiative transfermodelling reveals both≈1×10-5M⊙ of pre-existing dust located ~1016.7 cm away and up to ≈6 × 10-4M⊙ of newly formed dust. Spectral observations after 1.5 yr reveal the possibility that the fading SN is located within a young (3-6 Myr) massive stellar cluster, which when combined with tentative 56Ni mass estimates of 0.2 M⊙ may indicate a massive (≥25 M⊙) progenitor for SN 2011ja.

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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