AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 47. The Interstellar Medium I
Poster, Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[47.06] HST Archival Imaging of the Light Echoes of SN 1987A

S. S. Lawrence, M. Hayon (Hofstra U.), B. E. K. Sugerman, A. P. S. Crotts (Columbia U.)

We have undertaken a search for light echo signals from Supernova 1987A that have been serendipitously recorded in images taken near the 30 Doradus region of the Large Magellanic Cloud by {\em HST.} We used the MAST interface to create a database of the 1282 WF/PC, WFPC2 and STIS images taken within 15 arcminutes of the supernova, between 1992 April and 2002 June. These 1282 images are grouped into 125 distinct epochs and pointings, with each epoch containing between 1 and 42 separate exposures. Sorting this database with various programs, aided by the STScI Visual Target Tuner, we have identified 63 pairs of WFPC2 imaging epochs that are not centered on the supernova but that have a significant amount of spatial overlap between their fields of view. These image data were downloaded from the public archive, cleaned of cosmic rays, and blinked to search for light echoes at radii larger than 2 arcminutes from the supernova. Our search to date has focused on those pairs of epochs with the largest degree of overlap.

Of 16 pairs of epochs scanned to date, we have detected 3 strong light echoes and one faint, tentative echo signal. We will present direct and difference images of these and any further echoes, as well as the 3-D geometric, photometric and color properties of the echoing dust structures. In addition, a set of 20 epochs of WF/PC and WFPC2 imaging centered on SN 1987A remain to be searched for echoes within 2 arcminutes of the supernova. We will discuss our plans to integrate the high spatial-resolution {\em HST} snapshots of the echoes with our extensive, well-time-sampled, ground-based imaging data.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of this undergraduate research project through an HST Archival Research Grant (HST-AR-09209.01-A).

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: Stephen.Lawrence@hofstra.edu

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