We report on the results of our monitoring program of the X-ray remnant of supernova 1987A with the Chandra X-ray Observatory. We have performed two new observations during the Chandra Cycle 3 period, bringing the total to six monitoring observations over the past three years. These six observations provide a detailed time history of the birth of a new supernova remnant in X-rays. The high angular resolution images indicate that soft X-ray bright knots are associated with the optical spots, while hard X-ray features are better correlated with radio images. We interpret this in terms of a model in which fast shocks propagating through the circumstellar HII region produce the hard X-ray and radio emission, while the soft X-ray and optical emission arise in slower shocks entering into dense knots in the circumstellar inner ring. New observations begin to show changes in the morphology that may herald a new stage in the development of this incipient supernova remnant. The observed X-ray fluxes increase by nearly a factor of three over the last 30 months. The X-ray remnant is expanding at a velocity of ∼5000 km s -1 .
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aerospace Engineering
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Atmospheric Science
- Space and Planetary Science
- General Earth and Planetary Sciences