Volume 492, Number 2, December III 2008
|Page(s)||481 - 491|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||27 October 2008|
Time evolution of the line emission from the inner circumstellar ring of SN 1987A and its hot spots *,**
Stockholm Observatory, Stockholm University, AlbaNova University Center, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden e-mail: [per;claes;peter]@astro.su.se
2 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
3 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, MS-19, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
4 Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, PO Box 400325, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA
Accepted: 6 October 2008
We present seven epochs between October 1999 and November 2007 of high resolution VLT/UVES echelle spectra of the ejecta-ring collision of SN 1987A. The fluxes of most of the narrow lines from the unshocked gas decreased by a factor of during this period, consistent with the decay from the initial ionization by the shock break-out. However, [O III] in particular shows an increase up to day ~6800. This agrees with radiative shock models where the pre-shocked gas is heated by the soft X-rays from the shock. The evolution of the [O III] line ratio shows a decreasing temperature of the unshocked ring gas, consistent with a transition from a hot, low density component which was heated by the initial flash ionization to the lower temperature in the pre-ionized gas ahead of the shocks. The line emission from the shocked gas increases rapidly as the shock sweeps up more gas. We find that the neutral and high ionization lines follow the evolution of the Balmer lines roughly, while the intermediate ionization lines evolve less rapidly. Up to day ~6800, the optical light curves have a similar evolution to that of the soft X-rays. The break between day 6500 and day 7000 for [O III] and [Ne III] is likely due to recombination to lower ionization levels. Nevertheless, the evolution of the [Fe XIV] line, as well as the lines from the lowest ionization stages, continue to follow that of the soft X-rays, as expected. There is a clear difference in the line profiles between the low and intermediate ionization lines, and those from the coronal lines at the earlier epochs. This shows that these lines arise from regions with different physical conditions, with at least a fraction of the coronal lines coming from adiabatic shocks. At later epochs the line widths of the low ionization lines, however, increase and approach those of the high ionization lines of [ Fe X-XIV] . The Hα line profile can be traced up to ~500 km s-1 at the latest epoch. This is consistent with the cooling time of shocks propagating into a density of (1-4) 104 cm-3. This means that these shocks are among the highest velocity radiative shocks observed.
Key words: supernovae: individual: SN 1987A / circumstellar matter / shock waves
© ESO, 2008
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