INTEGRAL view of supernova remnant 1987A
This image shows the patch of the sky surrounding the remnant of supernova remnant 1987A (SNR 1987A) as seen at hard X-ray energies with ESA's INTEGRAL observatory. The remnant of this supernova, first detected in February 1987, is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies, at a distance of about 166,000 light-years.
The image is based on data collected in the 65–82 keV band, which encompasses two of the emission lines produced during the radioactive decay of the isotope titanium-44, at 67.9 and 78.4 keV, respectively. This image represents the first detection of titanium-44 in this supernova remnant, allowing astronomers to measure the amount of this key isotope synthesised by the progenitor star of this supernova before the explosion. This is equivalent to 0.03 per cent the mass of the Sun, demonstrating that the radioactive decay of titanium-44 has been powering the source for the past 20 years.
Also seen in the field of view are two other bright sources of high-energy emission, the black hole binary known as LMC X-1 and the pulsar PSR B0540-69. Both of these sources are also in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
The image is based on about 1650 hours of exposure. The field of view is about 1 degree across.