NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0048

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0048


PI: Jack Baldwin, Michigan State University, baldwin@pa.msu.edu
Address: Physics Department, 3270 BPS Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-2320, USA

CoI: Ed Loh, Michigan State University
CoI: Gary Ferland, University of Kentucky

Title: What \em are the Crab Nebula Filaments? A multi-wavelength study of their molecular content.

Abstract: The Crab Nebula is our prime nearby example of the immediate aftermath of a core-collapse supernova explosion. Its system of filaments is our best laboratory for studying the response of gas to bombardment by high-energy synchrotron photons and fast particles, and for learning about the type of dust that manages to get made in such an environment. Yet there are basic open questions about the filaments, starting with whether, in spite of previous results, they contain most of the mass that is expected to have been ejected from the SN progenitor. Part of the problem is that we do not really know how much molecular material exists within the filaments. We are carrying out a new multi-wavelength study aimed at greatly expanding our knowledge of the physical nature of these filaments. We will obtain new optical, near-IR, and mm-wave observations to use together with existing Spitzer far-IR spectra and images and our spectral simulation code \em Cloudy to develop self-consistent models of a representative sample of individual filaments. We have already taken the data for a new near-IR imaging survey of the Crab in H_2 and H^0 emission lines. We also have NASA funding to analyze an extensive grid of existing Spitzer IRS spectra. Here we request observing time on the 2.1m telescope to take new long-slit optical spectra that will sample exactly the same regions on the sky as the Spitzer data, to form a comprehensive, publicly-available data set for our investigation and for future work by others.


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