X-Ray Illumination of the Ejecta of Supernova 1987A
- Sonneborn, G.
- June 23, 2011.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Additional Creators:
- Garnavich, P. M., Panagia, N., Danziger, J., Larsson, J., Heng, K., Challis, P., Oestlin, G., Dwek, E., Kozma, C., Bouchet, P., Lundqvist, P., Lawrence, S. S., Groeningsson, P., Fransson, C., Crotts, A., McCray, R., Kirshner, R. P., France, K., Jerkstrand, A., Sollerman, J., Suntzeff, N. B., Leibundgut, B., Chevalier, R. A., and Pun, C. S. J.
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- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available. and Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- When a massive star explodes as a supernova, substantial amounts of radioactive elements-primarily Ni-56, Ni-57 and Ti-44 are produced. After the initial from shock heating, the light emitted by the supernova is due to the decay of these elements. However, after decades, the energy powering a supernova remnant comes from the shock interaction between the ejecta and the surrounding medium. The transition to this phase has hitherto not been observed: supernovae occur too infrequently in the Milky Way to provide a young example, and extragalactic supernovae are generally too faint and too small. Here we report observations that show this transition in the supernova SN 1987A in the Large Magellan Cloud. From 1994 to 200l, the ejecta faded owing to radioactive decay of Ti-44 as predicted. Then the flux started to increase, more than doubling by the end of 2009. We show that this increase is the result of heat deposited by X-rays produced as the ejecta interacts with the surrounding material. In time, the X-rays will penetrate farther into the ejects, enabling us to analyse the structure and chemistry of the vanished star.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20110015473., GSFC.JA.4738.2011., and Nature(ISSN 0028-0836); Volume 474; 484-486.
- Copyright, Distribution as joint owner in the copyright.
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