The X-ray line emission from the supernova remnant W49B

Una Hwang, Robert Petre, John Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The Galactic supernova remnant W49B has one of the most impressive X-ray emission-line spectra obtained with ASCA. We use both plasma line diagnostics and broadband model fits to show that the Si and S emission lines require multiple spectral components. The spectral data do not necessarily require individual elements to be spatially stratified, as suggested by earlier work, although when ASCA line images are considered, it is possible that Fe is stratified with respect to Si and S. Most of the X-ray-emitting gas is from ejecta, based on the element abundances required, but is surprisingly close to being in collisional ionization equilibrium. A high ionization age implies a high internal density in a young remnant. The fitted emission measure for W49B indicates a minimum density of 2 cm-3, with the true density likely to be significantly higher. W49B probably had a Type Ia progenitor, based on the relative element abundances, although a low-mass Type II progenitor is still possible. We find persuasive evidence for Cr and possibly Mn emission in the ASCA spectrum - the first detection of these elements in X-rays from a cosmic source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-979
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Supernova remnants
  • X-rays: ISM

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