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JWST MIRI Imager Observations of Supernova SN 1987A

Bouchet, P., Gastaud, R., Coulais, A., Barlow, M. J., Fransson, C., Kavanagh, P. J., Larsson, J., Temim, T., Jones, O. C., Hirschauer, A. S., Tikkanen, T., Blommaert, J. A. D. L., Fox, O. D., Glasse, A., Habel, N., Hjorth, J., Jaspers, J., Krause, O., Lau, R. M., Lenkić, L., Meixner, M., Nayak, O., Rest, A., Sargent, B., Wesson, R., Wright, G. S., Colina, L., van Dishoeck, E. F., Güdel, M., Henning, Th., Lagage, P.-O., Östlin, G., Ray, T. P. and Vandenbussche, B. 2024. JWST MIRI Imager Observations of Supernova SN 1987A. The Astrophysical Journal 965 (1) , 51. 10.3847/1538-4357/ad2770

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There exist very few mid-infrared (IR) observations of supernovae (SNe) in general. Therefore, SN 1987A, the closest visible SN in 400 yr, gives us the opportunity to explore the mid-IR properties of SNe, the dust in their ejecta, and the surrounding medium and to witness the birth of an SN remnant (SNR). The James Webb Space Telescope, with its high spatial resolution and extreme sensitivity, gives a new view on these issues. We report on the first imaging observations obtained with the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI). We build temperature maps and discuss the morphology of the nascent SNR. Our results show that the temperatures in the equatorial ring (ER) are quite nonuniform. This could be due to dust destruction in some parts of the ring, as had been assumed in some previous works. We show that the IR emission extends beyond the ER, illustrating the fact that the shock wave has now passed through this ring to affect the circumstellar medium on a larger scale. Finally, while submillimeter Atacama Large Millimeter Array observations have hinted at the location of the compact remnant of SN 1987A, we note that our MIRI data have found no such evidence.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: cc-by
Publisher: American Astronomical Society
ISSN: 0004-637X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 April 2024
Date of Acceptance: 6 February 2024
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2024 10:15

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