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Title: A comparison of X-ray and optical emission in Cassiopeia A

Abstract

Broadband optical and narrowband Si XIII X-ray images of the young Galactic supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A) obtained over several decades are used to investigate spatial and temporal emission correlations on both large and small angular scales. The data examined consist of optical and near-infrared ground-based and Hubble Space Telescope images taken between 1951 and 2011, and of X-ray images from Einstein, ROSAT, and Chandra taken between 1979 and 2013. We find weak spatial correlations between the remnant's X-ray and optical emission features on large scales, but several cases of good optical/X-ray correlations on small scales for features which have brightened due to recent interactions with the reverse shock. We also find instances (1) where a time delay is observed between the appearance of a feature's optical and X-ray emissions, (2) of displacements of several arcseconds between a feature's X-ray and optical emission peaks, and (3) of regions showing no corresponding X-ray or optical emissions. To explain this behavior, we propose a highly inhomogeneous density model for Cas A's ejecta consisting of small, dense optically emitting knots (n ∼10{sup 2-3} cm{sup –3}) and a much lower density (n ∼0.1-1 cm{sup –3}) diffuse X-ray emitting component often spatially associated withmore » optical emission knots. The X-ray emitting component is sometimes linked to optical clumps through shock-induced mass ablation generating trailing material leading to spatially offset X-ray/optical emissions. A range of ejecta densities can also explain the observed X-ray/optical time delays since the remnant's ≈5000 km s{sup –1} reverse shock heats dense ejecta clumps to temperatures around 3 × 10{sup 4} K relatively quickly, which then become optically bright while more diffuse ejecta become X-ray bright on longer timescales. Highly inhomogeneous ejecta as proposed here for Cas A may help explain some of the X-ray/optical emission features seen in other young core-collapse supernova remnants.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  2. 6127 Wilder Lab, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365674
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 789; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABLATION; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DENSITY; EMISSION; IMAGES; INTERACTIONS; MASS; SUPERNOVA REMNANTS; TELESCOPES; TIME DELAY; X RADIATION

Citation Formats

Patnaude, Daniel J., and Fesen, Robert A. A comparison of X-ray and optical emission in Cassiopeia A. United States: N. p., 2014. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/789/2/138.
Patnaude, Daniel J., & Fesen, Robert A. A comparison of X-ray and optical emission in Cassiopeia A. United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/789/2/138.
Patnaude, Daniel J., and Fesen, Robert A. Thu . "A comparison of X-ray and optical emission in Cassiopeia A". United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/789/2/138.
@article{osti_22365674,
title = {A comparison of X-ray and optical emission in Cassiopeia A},
author = {Patnaude, Daniel J. and Fesen, Robert A.},
abstractNote = {Broadband optical and narrowband Si XIII X-ray images of the young Galactic supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A) obtained over several decades are used to investigate spatial and temporal emission correlations on both large and small angular scales. The data examined consist of optical and near-infrared ground-based and Hubble Space Telescope images taken between 1951 and 2011, and of X-ray images from Einstein, ROSAT, and Chandra taken between 1979 and 2013. We find weak spatial correlations between the remnant's X-ray and optical emission features on large scales, but several cases of good optical/X-ray correlations on small scales for features which have brightened due to recent interactions with the reverse shock. We also find instances (1) where a time delay is observed between the appearance of a feature's optical and X-ray emissions, (2) of displacements of several arcseconds between a feature's X-ray and optical emission peaks, and (3) of regions showing no corresponding X-ray or optical emissions. To explain this behavior, we propose a highly inhomogeneous density model for Cas A's ejecta consisting of small, dense optically emitting knots (n ∼10{sup 2-3} cm{sup –3}) and a much lower density (n ∼0.1-1 cm{sup –3}) diffuse X-ray emitting component often spatially associated with optical emission knots. The X-ray emitting component is sometimes linked to optical clumps through shock-induced mass ablation generating trailing material leading to spatially offset X-ray/optical emissions. A range of ejecta densities can also explain the observed X-ray/optical time delays since the remnant's ≈5000 km s{sup –1} reverse shock heats dense ejecta clumps to temperatures around 3 × 10{sup 4} K relatively quickly, which then become optically bright while more diffuse ejecta become X-ray bright on longer timescales. Highly inhomogeneous ejecta as proposed here for Cas A may help explain some of the X-ray/optical emission features seen in other young core-collapse supernova remnants.},
doi = {10.1088/0004-637X/789/2/138},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
number = 2,
volume = 789,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Jul 10 00:00:00 EDT 2014},
month = {Thu Jul 10 00:00:00 EDT 2014}
}