NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0019

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0019


PI: P. Frank Winkler, Middlebury College, winkler@middlebury.edu
Address: Department of Physics, Bicentennial Hall, Middlebury, VT 05753, USA

CoI: Knox S. Long, STScI
CoI: William P. Blair, The Johns Hopkins University
CoI: probable undergraduate, Middlebury College

Title: Tycho's Supernova Remnant: Deep Imaging, Proper Motions, and a Direct Distance Measurement

Abstract: We will combine new \ha images of the SN 1572 (Tycho) remnant with archival ones from epochs back to 1988 to obtain the first CCD measurement of proper motions of Tycho's optical filaments-improving precision by more than a factor of 3 over classic photographic studies. Balmer-dominated filaments like those in Tycho have broad profiles whose width is well correlated with shock velocity, as we can measure using our recent spectra from the MMT. Through the combination of transverse velocity and proper motions, we expect to measure the distance to SN 1572 to \lesssim 10% (compared with the present uncertainty of a factor of 2 or more) - important for identifying the surviving binary companion to the SN Ia progenitor. Beyond simply obtaining a ``good- enough" current-epoch image for measuring Tycho's expansion, we propose to use \it either the WIYN with OPTIC (run 1, our preference) \it OR the 2.1m (run 2) to obtain a deep, high-resolution image of Tycho. Deep imaging with continuum subtraction may reveal faint emission around much of the shell, or place stringent limits on its surface brightness. Either will tell us about Tycho and its surroundings-and may indicate whether dust has formed from Tycho's ejecta, as has been suggested based on IR images from \it Spitzer. With broadband B and V images to combine with \ha, we will produce a color image that should be valuable for use in textbooks and for general public outreach.


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