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We present new, very late time optical photometry and spectroscopy of the interesting Type II-P supernova SN 2002hh, in NGC 6946. Gemini/GMOS-N has been used to acquire visible spectra at six epochs between 2004 August and 2006 July, following the evolution of the SN from age 661 to 1358 days. Few optical spectra of Type II supernovae with ages greater than 1 yr exist. In addition, g′, r′, and i′ images were acquired at all six epochs. The spectral and photometric evolution of SN 2002hh has been very unusual. Measures of the brightness of this SN, both in the R and I bands, as well as in the Hα emission flux, show no significant fading over an interval of nearly 2 years. The most straightforward explanation for this behavior is that the light being measured comes not only from the SN itself but also from an echo off nearby dust. Echoes have been detected previously around several SNe, but these echoes, at their brightest, were ∼8 mag below the maximum brightness of the SN. At V ∼ 21 mag, the putative echo dominates the light of SN 2002hh and is only ∼4 mag below the outburst's peak brightness. There is an estimated 6 mag of total extinction in V toward SN 2002hh. The proposed explanation of a differential echo/SN absorption is inconsistent with the observed BVRI colors. © 2007. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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Astrophysical Journal

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