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Observing Supernova 1987A with the Refurbished Hubble Space Telescope

Observing Supernova 1987A with the Refurbished Hubble Space Telescope

Publication date: 25 September 2010

Authors: France, K., et al.

Journal: Science
Volume: 329
Issue: 5999
Page: 1624-1627
Year: 2010

Copyright: AAAS

Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), conducted since 1990, now offer an unprecedented glimpse into fast astrophysical shocks in the young remnant of supernova 1987A. Comparing observations taken in 2010 with the use of the refurbished instruments on HST with data taken in 2004, just before the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph failed, we find that the Ly-a and H-a lines from shock emission continue to brighten, whereas their maximum velocities continue to decrease. We observe broad, blueshifted Ly-a, which we attribute to resonant scattering of photons emitted from hot spots on the equatorial ring. We also detect N v ll1239, 1243 angstrom line emission, but only to the red of Ly-a. The profiles of the N v lines differ markedly from that of H-a, suggesting that the N4+ ions are scattered and accelerated by turbulent electromagnetic fields that isotropize the ions in the collisionless shock.

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