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Astron. Astrophys. 328, 628-633

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X-ray spectroscopy of the supernova remnant RCW 86

A new challenge for modeling the emission from supernova remnants

Jacco Vink, Jelle S. Kaastra, and Johan A.M. Bleeker

Space Research Organization Netherlands, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands

Received 4 July 1997 / Accepted 20 August 1997


We present an analysis of ASCA X-ray data of SNR RCW 86. There appears to be a remarkable spectral variation over the remnant, indicating temperatures varying from 0.8 keV to > 3 keV. We have fitted these spectra with non-equilibrium ionization models and found that all regions are best fitted by emission from a hot plasma underabundant in metals (<0.25 solar), but in some cases fluorescent emission indicates overabundances of Ar and Fe. The ionization stage of the metals appears to be far from equilibrium, at some spots as low as $\log(n_{\rm e}t)$ (m-3s) $\sim 15.3$. We discuss the physical reality of the abundances and suggest an electron distribution with a supra-thermal tail to alleviate the strong depletion factors observed. We argue that RCW 86 is the result of a cavity explosion.

Key words: atomic processes - ISM: abundances - ISM: individual objects: RCW 86 - ISM: supernova remnants - X-rays: ISM

Send offprint requests to: J. Vink (@sron.ruu.nl)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: November 24, 1997
Last change: March 26, 1998