NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014B-0322

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Proposal Information for 2014B-0322


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 Heathcote, NOAO
CoI: Stephen Lawrence, Hofstra University

Title: SN 1987A Transforms into SN Remnant 1987A

Abstract: The ejecta and circumstellar ring of SN 1987A are colliding violently. Over several years, we have seen radical changes in the circumstellar nebula as it is 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 interacting. This means that observations, especially spectroscopy, of SNR 1987A have entered a new phase in which ground-based observations can reveal the collective behavior of the SNR, especially when combined with HST data. 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, they have linewidths ~10 to 15,000 km/s; frequent moderate- dispersion spectra are required. With the interaction region now enveloping the inner ring, ionizing radiation has started flooding the entire structure. SOAR/Goodman is ideal for this, covering velocity scales, wavelengths and time intervals unavailable to HST, allowing the first ever study of the creation of a nearby SNR. In particular we need timely, good-seeing Goodman spectra of the reverse shock of SN 1987A’s circumstellar/ejecta interaction this semester to combine with our scheduled HST/STIS spectra and WFC3 images (in August 2014) and thereby measure of the compositon of deep layers in the SN progenitor star by studying ionic species measurements not seen by HST data alone.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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