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Session 40 - Supernova Remnants & SN 1987A.
Display session, Thursday, January 08
Exhibit Hall,

[40.14] The Velocity Structure of SN 1987A's Outer Circumstellar Envelope

A. P. S. Crotts (Columbia U.), S. R. Heathcote (CTIO)

We present high-resolution optical spectroscopy, (obtained with the CTIO 4-meter/echelle spectrograph over many epochs between 1989 and 1997) of the circumstellar nebula of SN 1987A, including the outer rings (within 3 arcsec of the SN), the inner (equatorial) ring, and fainter features at larger radii never studied before spectroscopically. We report velocity displacements for portions of the outer rings, up to 26 km s^-1 with respect the SN centroid velocity, with blueshifted components in the location of the southern outer ring and the redshifted portions of the northern outer ring. The largest shifts are near the SN, as predicted by a model in which the outer rings are the crowns of an expanding, bipolar nebula with the inner ring at its waist. We also confirm that the inner ring shows a velocity full-width of about 13 km s^-1, which, along with the geometry of the rings and our outer ring velocity measurements, allows us to estimate a characteristic timescale of about 20,000 y for each of the three rings, implying that all are coeval. This contrasts with measurements by others of compositional ratios in the inner versus outer rings indicating that they were, perhaps, ejected at different times from the progenitor's star's outer envelope. Additionally, we measure the velocity of low surface brightness features at larger radii indicating that circumstellar material even farther from the SN was ejected up to 400,000 y before the explosion. Finally, we note the presence of transient emission features within the circumstellar nebula and describe their behaviour, and consider what implications our observations may have for the coming transformation of this nebula into Supernova Remnant 1987A.

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