AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 99. Supernovae, SNRs, and Our Atmosphere
Oral, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 10:00-11:30am, 618-619

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[99.03] Radioactive 55Fe in Supernova 1987A

M. Leising (Clemson University)

We have searched 99 ksec of archival Chandra ACIS data (from 7 December 2000) for evidence of line emission at 5.9 keV from the electron-capture decay of radioactive 55Fe synthesized in the explosion of SN 1987A. This isotope, the source of most of natural manganese, is synthesized mainly in non-equilibrium explosive silicon burning. This occurs at mass coordinate ~2 solar masses in core-collapse supernovae. We find no evidence of this line in the Chandra data, with an upper limit to the line flux of 2x10-6 cm-2 s-1 (99%). This is somewhat below the theoretically expected flux. The absence of this line might be explained in terms of the uncertain absorption optical depth of the outer ejecta, which also has implications for the emergence of X-rays from the compact object in SN 1987A.

We discuss the potential for detection of this line, in other archival data or from new observations with current instruments.

This work is supported by NASA NAG 5-10764.

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