Modeling the Hubble Space Telescope Ultraviolet and Optical Spectrum of Spot 1 on the Circumstellar Ring of SN 1987A

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 6.73). 12/2008; 572(2):906. DOI: 10.1086/340453
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We report and interpret Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) long-slit observations of the optical and ultraviolet (1150-10270 Å) emission line spectra of the rapidly brightening spot 1 on the equatorial ring of SN 1987A between 1997 September and 1999 October (days 3869-4606 after outburst). The emission is caused by radiative shocks created where the supernova blast wave strikes dense gas protruding inward from the equatorial ring. We measure and tabulate line identifications, fluxes, and, in some cases, line widths and shifts. We compute flux correction factors to account for substantial interstellar line absorption of several emission lines. Nebular analysis shows that optical emission lines come from a region of cool (Te ≈ 104 K) and dense (ne ≈ 106 cm-3) gas in the compressed photoionized layer behind the radiative shock. The observed line widths indicate that only shocks with shock velocities Vs < 250 km s-1 have become radiative, while line ratios indicate that much of the emission must have come from yet slower (Vs 135 km s-1) shocks. Such slow shocks can be present only if the protrusion has atomic density n 3 × 104 cm-3, somewhat higher than that of the circumstellar ring. We are able to fit the UV fluxes with an idealized radiative shock model consisting of two shocks (Vs = 135 and 250 km s-1). The observed UV flux increase with time can be explained by the increase in shock surface areas as the blast wave overtakes more of the protrusion. The observed flux ratios of optical to highly ionized UV lines are greater by a factor of ~2-3 than predictions from the radiative shock models, and we discuss the possible causes. We also present models for the observed Hα line widths and profiles, which suggest that a chaotic flow exists in the photoionized regions of these shocks. We discuss what can be learned with future observations of all the spots present on the equatorial ring.

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    ABSTRACT: We discuss the X-ray emission observed from supernova remnant 1987A with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. We analyze a high-resolution spectrum obtained in 1999 October with the high-energy transmission grating (HETG). From this spectrum we measure the strengths and an average profile of the observed X-ray lines. We also analyze a high signal-to-noise ratio CCD spectrum obtained in 2000 December. The good statistics (≈9250 counts) of this spectrum and the high spatial resolution provided by the telescope allow us to perform spectroscopic analyses of different regions of the remnant. We discuss the relevant shock physics that can explain the observed X-ray emission. The X-ray spectra are well fitted by plane-parallel shock models with postshock electron temperatures of ≈2.6 keV and ionization ages of ≈6 × 1010 cm-3 s. The combined X-ray line profile has a FWHM of ≈5000 km s-1, indicating a blast-wave speed of ≈3500 km s-1. At this speed, plasma with a mean postshock temperature of ≈17 keV is produced. This is direct evidence for incomplete electron-ion temperature equilibration behind the shock. Assuming this shock temperature, we constrain the amount of collisionless electron heating at the shock front at Te0/Ts = 0.11. We find that the plasma has low metallicity (abundances are ≈0.1-0.4 solar) and is nitrogen enriched (N/O ≈ 0.8 by number), similar to abundances found for the equatorial ring. Analysis of the spectra from different regions of the remnant reveals slight differences in the parameters of the emitting plasma. The plasma is cooler near the optical spot 1 (at position angle ≈30°) and in the eastern half of the remnant, where the bright optical spots are found, than in the western half, consistent with the presence of slower (≈500 km s-1) shocks entering denser ring material. There is an overall flux asymmetry between the two halves, with the eastern half being 15%-50% brighter (depending on how the center of the remnant is defined). However, our spectroscopic analysis shows that less than 5% of the overall X-ray emission could come from a slow shock component. Therefore the flux asymmetry cannot fully be due to X-rays produced by the blast wave entering the ring, but rather indicates an asymmetry in the global interaction with the circumstellar material interior to the ring.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 574(1):166. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present observations with VLT and HST of the broad emission lines from the inner ejecta and reverse shock of SN 1987A from 1999 until 2012 (days 4381 -- 9100 after explosion). We detect broad lines from H-alpha, H-beta, Mg I], Na I, [O I], [Ca II] and a feature at 9220 A. We identify the latter line with Mg II 9218, 9244,most likely pumped by Ly-alpha fluorescence. H-alpha, and H-beta both have a centrally peaked component, extending to 4500 km/s and a very broad component extending to 11,000 km/s, while the other lines have only the central component. The low velocity component comes from unshocked ejecta, heated mainly by X-rays from the circumstellar ring collision, whereas the broad component comes from faster ejecta passing through the reverse shock. The reverse shock flux in H-alpha has increased by a factor of 4-6 from 2000 to 2007. After that there is a tendency of flattening of the light curve, similar to what may be seen in soft X-rays and in the optical lines from the shocked ring. The core component seen in H-alpha, [Ca II] and Mg II has experienced a similar increase, consistent with that found from HST photometry. The ring-like morphology of the ejecta is explained as a result of the X-ray illumination, depositing energy outside of the core of the ejecta. The energy deposition in the ejecta of the external X-rays illumination is calculated using explosion models for SN 1987A and we predict that the outer parts of the unshocked ejecta will continue to brighten because of this. We finally discuss evidence for dust in the ejecta from line asymmetries.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2012; 768(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HST images with WFPC2 of the young, oxygen-rich, Crab-like supernova remnant SNR 0540-69.3 in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) reveal details of the emission distribution and the relationship between the expanding ejecta and synchrotron nebula. The emission distributions appear very similar to those seen in the Crab Nebula, with the ejecta located in a thin envelope surrounding the synchrotron nebula. The [O III] emission is more extended than other tracers, forming a faint "skin" around the denser filaments and synchrotron nebula, as also observed in the Crab. The [O III] exhibits somewhat different kinematic structure in long-slit spectra, including a more extended high-velocity emission halo not seen in images. Yet even the fastest expansion speeds in SNR 0540-69.3's halo are slow when compared to most other young supernova remnants, although the Crab Nebula has similar slow expansion speeds. We show a striking correspondence between the morphology of the synchrotron nebula observed in an optical continuum filter with that recently resolved in Chandra X-ray images. We argue that the multicomponent kinematics and filamentary morphology of the optical emission-line features likely result from magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities that form as the synchrotron nebula expands and sweeps up ejecta, as seen in the Crab Nebula. Our images and spectra help to refine our understanding of SNR 0540-69.3 in several more detailed respects: they confirm the identification of Hα + [N ] in the red spectrum, show that the systemic velocity of SNR 0540-69.3 is not significantly different from that of the LMC, and hint at a lower Ne abundance than the Crab (potentially indicating a more massive progenitor star).
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 644(1):188. · 6.73 Impact Factor

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