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Radio Emission from SN 1987A

  • L. Staveley-Smith (a1), R. N. Manchester (a1), A. K. Tzioumis (a1), J. E. Reynolds (a1) and D. S. Briggs (a2)...

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We review the first six years of radio observations of Supernova 1987A. The evolution can be divided into two phases: the initial radio outburst which lasted a few weeks, and the period from mid-1990 to the present, during which the radio emission has steadily increased. Both phases can be explained by a small fraction (0.1-0.5%) of the post-shock thermal energy being converted to energy in relativistic particles and magnetic fields, which give rise to synchrotron radiation. The optical depths, densities and density profiles for the pre-shocked circumstellar material are somewhat different for the two phases, but consistent with models of the density structure of the material within the circumstellar ring. New high-resolution radio observations show that the SN shock front is already at about three-quarters of the radius of the circumstellar ring, and that there exists a bright equatorial component of emission aligned with this ring which is probably due to a polar density gradient in the ‘hourglass’ structure.

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References

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