Analysis of XMM-Newton Observations of Supernova Remnant W49B and Clues to the Progenitor

Jared Siegel, Vikram V. Dwarkadas, Kari A. Frank, David N. Burrows

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9 Scopus citations


W49B is a supernova remnant (SNR) discovered over 60 yr ago in early radio surveys. It has since been observed over the entire wavelength range, with the X-ray morphology resembling a centrally filled SNR. The nature of its progenitor star is still debated. Applying Smoothed Particle Inference techniques to analyze the X-Ray emission from W49B, we characterize the morphology and abundance distribution over the entire remnant. We also infer the density structure and derive the mass of individual elements present in the plasma. The morphology is consistent with an interaction between the remnant and a dense medium along the eastern edge, and some obstruction toward the west. We find a total mass of 130 M and an estimated ejecta mass of 1.2 M . Comparison of the inferred abundance values and individual element masses with a wide selection of SN models suggests that deflagration-to-detonation (DDT) Type Ia models are the most compatible, with Fe abundance being the major discriminating factor. The general agreement between our abundance measurements and those from previous studies suggests that disagreement between various authors is more likely due to the choice of models used for comparison, rather than the abundance values themselves. While our abundance results lean toward a Type Ia origin, ambiguities in the interpretation of various morphological and spectral characteristics of W49B do not allow us to provide a definitive classification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number175
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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