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SN 2008S erupted in early 2008 in the grand design spiral galaxy NGC 6946. The progenitor was detected by Prieto et al. in Spitzer Space Telescope images taken over the four years prior to the explosion, but was not detected in deep optical images, from which they inferred a self-obscured object with a mass of about 10 M⊙. We obtained Spitzer observations of SN MTSY.-1.circledot 2008S 5 days after its discovery, as well as coordinated Gemini and Spitzer optical and infrared observations 6 months after its outburst. We have constructed radiative transfer dust models for the object before and after the outburst, using the same r-2 density distribution of pre-existing amorphous carbon grains for all epochs and taking light travel time effects into account. We rule out silicate grains as a significant component of the dust around SN 2008S. The inner radius of the dust shell moved outwards from its pre-outburst value of 85 au to a post-outburst value of 1250 au, attributable to grain vaporization by the light flash from SN 2008S. Although this caused the circumstellar extinction to decrease from AV = 15 before the outburst to 0.8 after the outburst, we estimate that less than 2 per cent of the overall circumstellar dust mass was destroyed. The total mass-loss rate from the progenitor star is estimated to have been 0.5-1.0 × 10-4 M⊙ yr-1. The derived dust-mass-loss rate of 5 × 10-7 M⊙ yr-1 implies a total dust MTSY.-1.circledot MTSY.-1.circledot injection into the interstellar medium of up to 0.01 M⊙ over the suggested duration of the MTSY.-1.circledot self-obscured phase. We consider the potential contribution of objects like SN 2008S to the dust enrichment of galaxies. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS.

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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