NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0534

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0534


PI: Arlin Crotts, Columbia University, arlin@astro.columbia.edu
Address: Department of Astronomy, 550 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027, U.S.A.

CoI: Stephen Lawrence, Hofstra University
CoI: Steve Heathcote, NOAO/SOAR

Title: Spectroscopic Evolution of SNR 1987A & Its Light Echo

Abstract: The collision between SN1987A's ejecta and circumstellar ring is underway. Over several years, we are watching radical changes in the circumstellar nebula overrun by high-speed ejecta, giving birth to a supernova remnant (SNR). We have already discovered (and published), via this observational program, new interactions between ejecta and nebula, as several hot spots appearing every year, and see now the whole innermost nebula beginning to interact. The collision is predicted (and observed) to produce intense IR/optical emission, in new and previously- observed lines. Depending on whether these arise in the ejecta or nebula, and whether shock or EUV-excited, these have lineswidths ~10 to 15,000 km/s; frequent moderate-dispersion spectra are needed to monitor these. With this phenomenon entering collective evolution, with many finer nebulosities washed out, ionizing radiation is beginning to flood the entire structure; we should transition to more ground observations than with finer spatial resolutions of HST. GMOS (or RCSP) are ideal for this, covering velocity scales, wavelengths and time intervals unavailable to HST, allowing the first ever study of creation of a nearby SNR. With these GMOS data we also have powerful ability to "re-observe" SN1987A's explosion process using light-echo spectra, determining whether SN II radiate asymetrically, otherwise extremely problematic investigations. (Note that this is a duplicate submission of N0528.)


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