Journal article

Hubble space telescope observations of the SN 1987A triple ring nebula

CJ Burrows, J Krist, JJ Hester, R Sahai, JT Trauger, KR Stapelfeldt, JS Gallagher, GE Ballester, S Casertano, JT Clarke, D Crisp, RW Evans, RE Griffiths, JG Hoessel, JA Holtzman, JR Mould, PA Scowen, AM Watson, JA Westphal

Astrophysical Journal | Published : 1995


We have observed SN 1987A with the optically corrected WFPC2 on the Hubble Space Telescope both in emission lines and in the UV and optical continuum. The previously observed outer nebular structure is shown to be part of two closed unresolved loops. These loops were flash-ionized by the supernova itself. They are not caused by limb brightening of an hourglass shell produced by the interaction of the winds from the progenitor. The inner ring is seen to be extended and may be connected to the new outer rings by sheets of material. However, beyond the outer rings, emission is not seen, implying a very low density (n 1000. This density contrast of at least 100 is difficult to reconcile with th..

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