Knowledge of the progenitors of core-collapse supernovae is a fundamental component in understanding the explosions. The recent progress in finding such stars is reviewed. The minimum initial mass that can produce a supernova (SN) has converged to 8 ± 1 from direct detections of red supergiant progenitors of II-P SNe and the most massive white dwarf progenitors, although this value is model dependent. It appears that most type Ibc SNe arise from moderate mass interacting binaries. The highly energetic, broad-lined Ic SNe are likely produced by massive, Wolf-Rayet progenitors. There is some evidence to suggest that the majority of massive stars above ∼20 may collapse quietly to black holes and that the explosions remain undetected. The recent discovery of a class of ultrabright type II SNe and the direct detection of some progenitor stars bearing luminous blue variable characteristics suggest some very massive stars do produce highly energetic explosions. The physical mechanism is under debate, and these SNe pose a challenge to stellar evolutionary theory.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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