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Properties of shocked dust grains in supernova remnants

Priestley, Felix D, Chawner, H, Barlow, M J, De Looze, I, Gomez, H L ORCID: and Matsuura, M ORCID: 2022. Properties of shocked dust grains in supernova remnants. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 516 (2) , pp. 2314-2325. 10.1093/mnras/stac2408

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Shockwaves driven by supernovae both destroy dust and reprocess the surviving grains, greatly affecting the resulting dust properties of the interstellar medium (ISM). While these processes have been extensively studied theoretically, observational constraints are limited. We use physically motivated models of dust emission to fit the infrared (IR) spectral energy distributions of seven Galactic supernova remnants, allowing us to determine the distribution of dust mass between diffuse and dense gas phases, and between large and small grain sizes. We find that the dense (⁠∼103 cm−3⁠), relatively cool (⁠∼103 K⁠) gas phase contains >90 per cent of the dust mass, making the warm dust located in the X-ray emitting plasma (⁠∼1 cm−3/106 K⁠) a negligible fraction of the total, despite dominating the mid-IR emission. The ratio of small (⁠≲10 nm⁠) to large (⁠≳0.1 μm⁠) grains in the cold component is consistent with that in the ISM, and possibly even higher, whereas the hot phase is almost entirely devoid of small grains. This suggests that grain shattering, which processes large grains into smaller ones, is ineffective in the low-density gas, contrary to model predictions. Single-phase models of dust destruction in the ISM, which do not account for the existence of the cold swept-up material containing most of the dust mass, are likely to greatly overestimate the rate of dust destruction by supernovae.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: Royal Astronomical Society
ISSN: 0035-8711
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 October 2022
Date of Acceptance: 23 August 2022
Last Modified: 09 May 2023 06:34

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