High-cadence Dispersed Spectral Analysis of Supernova Remnant 1987A

Evan Bray, David N. Burrows, Sangwook Park, Aravind P. Ravi

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We present an analysis of the dispersed spectral data from 11 epochs (2011 March-2018 September) of supernova remnant (SNR) 1987A observations performed with Chandra. These observations were performed with the High Energy Transmission Grating (HETG) as part of our ongoing Chandra monitoring campaign of SNR 1987A, whose first-order dispersed spectrum provides a significantly greater energy resolution than the previously published zeroth-order spectrum. Our data sets with moderate exposure times of ∼50-70 ks per epoch cover the time period between deep Chandra HETG observations (with individual exposures >∼200 ks) taken in 2011 March and 2018 March. These data have a much higher cadence than the widely spaced deep high-resolution spectra, at the expense of total exposure time. While statistical uncertainties are large due to low photon count statistics in the observed first-order spectra, we find that spectral model parameters are generally in line with the shock wave propagating into the medium beyond the dense inner ring, as suggested by Frank et al. (2016). As the reverse shock begins ionizing the heavier elements of the supernova ejecta interior to the equatorial ring, spectral fit parameters are expected to change as the chemical makeup and physical properties of the shocked gas evolve. Based on our broadband spectral model fits, we find that abundance values appear to be constant in this time period. While our results are somewhat limited due to photon statistics, we demonstrate the utility of the dispersed HETG spectral analysis that can be performed with our regular Chandra monitoring observations of SNR 1987A.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number21
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 10 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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