Wednesday, June 19, 2013

1306.3994 (E. A. Helder et al.)

Proper Motions of H-alpha filaments in the Supernova Remnant RCW 86    [PDF]

E. A. Helder, J. Vink, A. Bamba, J. A. M. Bleeker, D. N. Burrows, P. Ghavamian, R. Yamazaki
We present a proper motion study of the eastern shock-region of the supernova remnant RCW 86 (MSH 14-63, G315.4-2.3), based on optical observations carried out with VLT/FORS2 in 2007 and 2010. For both the northeastern and southeastern regions, we measure an average proper motion of H-alpha filaments of 0.10 +/- 0.02 arcsec/yr, corresponding to 1200 +/- 200 km/s at 2.5kpc. There is substantial variation in the derived proper motions, indicating shock velocities ranging from just below 700 km/s to above 2200 km/s. The optical proper motion is lower than the previously measured X-ray proper motion of northeastern region. The new measurements are consistent with the previously measured proton temperature of 2.3 +/- 0.3 keV, assuming no cosmic-ray acceleration. However, within the uncertainties, moderately efficient (< 27 per cent) shock acceleration is still possible. The combination of optical proper motion and proton temperature rule out the possibility that RCW 86 has a distance less than 1.5kpc. The similarity of the proper motions in the northeast and southeast is peculiar, given the different densities and X-ray emission properties of the regions. The northeastern region has lower densities and the X-ray emission is synchrotron dominated, suggesting that the shock velocities should be higher than in the southeastern, thermal X-ray dominated, region. A possible solution is that the H-alpha emitting filaments are biased toward denser regions, with lower shock velocities. Alternatively, in the northeast the shock velocity may have decreased rapidly during the past 200yr, and the X-ray synchrotron emission is an afterglow from a period when the shock velocity was higher.
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