Journal Article

Unveiling the spatial structure of the overionized plasma in the supernova remnant W49B

Xin Zhou, Marco Miceli, Fabrizio Bocchino, Salvatore Orlando and Yang Chen

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 415, issue 1, pages 244-250
Published in print July 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Unveiling the spatial structure of the overionized plasma in the supernova remnant W49B

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W49B is a mixed-morphology supernova remnant with thermal X-ray emission dominated by the ejecta. In this remnant, the presence of overionized plasma has been directly established, with information about its spatial structure. However, the physical origin of the overionized plasma in W49B has not yet been understood. We investigate this intriguing issue through a 2D hydrodynamic model that takes into account, for the first time, the mixing of ejecta with the inhomogeneous circumstellar and interstellar medium, the thermal conduction, the radiative losses from optically thin plasma and the deviations from equilibrium of ionization induced by plasma dynamics. The model was set up on the basis of the observational results. We found that the thermal conduction plays an important role in the evolution of W49B, inducing the evaporation of the circumstellar ring-like cloud (whose presence has been deduced from previous observations) that mingles with the surrounding hot medium, cooling down the shocked plasma, and pushes the ejecta backwards to the centre of the remnant, forming there a jet-like structure. During the evolution, a large region of overionized plasma forms within the remnant. The overionized plasma originates from the rapid cooling of the hot plasma originally heated by the shock reflected from the dense ring-like cloud. In particular, we found two different ways for the rapid cooling of plasma to appear: (i) the mixing of relatively cold and dense material evaporated from the ring with the hot shocked plasma and (ii) the rapid adiabatic expansion of the ejecta. The spatial distribution of the radiative recombination continuum predicted by the numerical model is in good agreement with that observed.

Keywords: hydrodynamics; methods: numerical; ISM: individual objects: W49B; ISM: individual objects: G43.3−0.2; ISM: supernova remnants

Journal Article.  4613 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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