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E. Michael, R. McCray (JILA), C. S. J. Pun, G. Sonneborn (NASA-GSFC), P. M. Garnavich, P. Challis, R. P. Kirshner (CfA), SINS Collaboration
We present long-slit L\alpha profiles from Supernova Remnant 1987A at 4 different locations obtained by the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. Photons with Doppler shifts up to ~±15,000 km/s are emitted by neutral Hydrogen atoms in the supernova envelope crossing a reverse shock. Since the envelope is in free expansion (v = r/t) the Doppler shift of a L\alpha photon reveals the emitting atom's position along the line of sight. Therefore a two dimensional L\alpha profile is equivalent to an image of a slice of the supernova envelope. We use the observations to construct a three dimensional model of the L\alpha emissivity of the envelope, and to determine the location and structure of the remnant's reverse shock.
Support for this work is provided by NASA GSRP 153-1167, and through NASA grant GO-08243 from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.