Detection of X-rays from SN 1987A with ROSAT

Paul Gorenstein, John P. Hughes, Wallace H. Tucker

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Soft X-rays (0.5-2 keV) were detected with the ROSAT PSPC from the direction of SN 1987A, which falls within an association in the LMC that is rich in B stars. The emission is consistent with two point sources in the LMC with total luminosity of ∼ 1034 ergs s-1. The brighter source is identified with SN 1987A on the basis of its positional agreement. We interpret the emission as arising from the interaction of supernova ejecta with the pre-existing blue giant wind. The second source may be an unidentified Be/X-ray binary. Another possibility is that the second source is an X-ray echo from the supernova outburst. The X-ray echo interpretation requires that the supernova emitted ∼ 1047 ergs in a burst of soft X-rays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L25-L28
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Supernova remnants
  • Supernovae: individual: (SN 1987A)
  • X-rays: stars


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