AuthorEriksen, Kristoffer Albert
AdvisorArnett, W. David
Committee ChairArnett, W. David
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractUsing two techniques not previously applied to Cassiopeia A (Cas A), we measure the reddening toward its expansion center. An estimate of AV from the near-IR [Fe II] lines is hampered by uncertain atomic data, though the spatial variation in their flux ratio allows relative measurement of the extinction in regions without previous optical estimates. We use a second technique based on the broad-band IR shape of the synchrotron emission, and find Aᵥ = 6.2 ± 0.6 for a knot 13" from the expansion center. Assuming a plausible lower limit on the apparent magnitude of the SN in outburst, the ⁵⁶Ni yield was 0.058 < M(Ni) < 0.16M⊙. With the ⁴⁴Ti mass from published gamma-ray observations, this implies a ⁴⁴Ca/ ⁵⁶Fe ratio consistent with the solar abundance. Recently published Spitzer Space Telescope IRS observations detect dust and line emission from cold gas interior to Cas A’s reverse shock. Using simple physical arguments and new hydrodynamic, non-equilibrium photoionization calculations, we infer the physical conditions in this material. We find that the mid-IR bright clumps are photoionized by the SNR shocks, over-dense relative to the expected average in the interior of the remnant, and have abundances consistent with incomplete oxygen burning. The lack of detectable iron lines indicates that any Si-burning material still interior to the reverse shock must be far more tenuous than the clumps of O-burning ashes. Finally, we present calculations from a new multi-dimensional hydrodynamics and non-equilibrium ionization and cooling code designed to model the emission from SNR shocks. Two-dimensional simulations of a shock-cloud interaction in a pure-oxygen plasma, with flow parameters relevant to Cas A, show a wider range of temperatures and ionization states than is typical in single-zone or 1D calculations, indicating that fluid and cooling instabilities play a role in producing the observed spectra of radiative shocks in metal-rich gas.