Faculty Research at Morehead State University


The Metal-Enriched Thermal Composite Supernova Remnant Kesteven 41 (G337.8-0.1) in a Molecular Environment

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The physical nature of thermal composite supernova remnants (SNRs) remains controversial. We have revisited the archival XMM-Newton and Chandra data of the thermal composite SNR Kesteven 41 (Kes 41 or G337.8−0.1) and performed a millimeter observation toward this source in the 12CO, 13CO, and C18O lines. The X-ray emission, mainly concentrated toward the southwestern part of the SNR, is characterized by distinct S and Ar He-like lines in the spectra. The X-ray spectra can be fitted with an absorbed nonequilibrium ionization collisional plasma model at a temperature of 1.3–2.6 keV and an ionization timescale of 0.1–1.2 × 1012 cm−3 s. The metal species S and Ar are overabundant, with 1.2–2.7 and 1.3–3.8 solar abundances, respectively, which strongly indicate the presence of a substantial ejecta component in the X-ray-emitting plasma of this SNR. Kes 41 is found to be associated with a giant molecular cloud (MC) at a systemic local standard of rest velocity of −50 km s−1 and confined in a cavity delineated by a northern molecular shell, a western concave MC that features a discernible shell, and an H i cloud seen toward the southeast of the SNR. The birth of the SNR in a preexisting molecular cavity implies a mass of 18 M for the progenitor if it was not in a binary system. Thermal conduction and cloudlet evaporation seem to be feasible mechanisms to interpret the X-ray thermal composite morphology, and the scenario of gas reheating by the shock reflected from the cavity wall is quantitatively consistent with the observations. An updated list of thermal composite SNRs is also presented in this paper.