The radio remnant of Supernova 1987A at high frequencies and high resolution [HEAP]

As the remnant of Supernova (SN) 1987A has been getting brighter over time, new observations at high frequencies have allowed imaging of the radio emission at unprecedented detail. We present a new radio image at 44 GHz of the supernova remnant (SNR), derived from observations performed with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) in 2011. The diffraction-limited image has a resolution of $349\times225$ mas, which is the highest achieved to date in high-dynamic range images of the SNR. We also present a new image at 18 GHz, also derived from ATCA observations performed in 2011, which is super-resolved to $0./!/!^{\prime\prime}25$. The new 44 and 18 GHz images yield the first high-resolution spectral index map of the remnant. The comparison of the 44 GHz image with contemporaneous X-ray and H$\alpha$ observations allows further investigations of the nature of the remnant asymmetry and sheds more light into the progenitor hypotheses and SN explosion. In light of simple free-free absorption models, we discuss the likelihood of detecting at 44 GHz the possible emission originating from a pulsar wind nebula (PWN) or a compact source in the centre of the remnant.

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Date added: Mon, 21 Oct 13