A physical interpretation of the jet-like X-ray emission from supernova remnant W49B

M. Miceli, A. Decourchelle, J. Ballet, F. Bocchino, John Hughes, U. Hwang, R. Petre

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12 Scopus citations


In the framework of the study of supernova remnants and their complex interaction with the interstellar medium and the circumstellar material, we focus on the galactic supernova remnant W49B. Its morphology exhibits an X-ray bright elongated nebula, terminated on its eastern end by a sharp perpendicular structure aligned with the radio shell. The X-ray spectrum of W49B is characterized by strong K emission lines from Si, S, Ar, Ca, and Fe. There is a variation of the temperature in the remnant with the highest temperature found in the eastern side and the lowest one in the western side. The analysis of the recent observations of W49B indicates that the remnant may be the result of an asymmetric bipolar explosion where the ejecta are collimated along a jet-like structure and the eastern jet is hotter and more Fe-rich than the western one. Another possible scenario associates the X-ray emission with a spherical explosion where parts of the ejecta are interacting with a dense belt of ambient material. To overcome this ambiguity we present new results of the analysis of an XMM-Newton observation and we perform estimates of the mass and energy of the remnant. We conclude that the scenario of an anisotropic jet-like explosion explains quite naturally our observation results, but the association of W49B with a hypernova and a γ-ray burst, although still possible, is not directly supported by any evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-395
Number of pages6
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


  • ISM: individual object: W49B
  • ISM: supernova remnants
  • X-rays: ISM

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