- SOFIA Overview
- Proposing & Observing
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Supernova Dust and Ejecta Around Pulsar Wind Nebulae
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 9:00am PDT
While theoretical dust condensation models and observations of dusty high redshift galaxies imply that core-collapse supernova (SN) explosions should efficiently form dust, large quantities of dust have so far only been directly observed in SN 1987A. One of the main challenges in characterizing dust masses and compositions in supernova remnants (SNRs) is the inability to disentangle the emission from SN-formed dust from other ambient material. SNRs that contain pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe) can serve as powerful probes of the SN ejecta and dust that would otherwise be unobservable. As young PWNe expand inside their host SNRs, they provide a heating mechanism for the inner SN ejecta and dust that have not yet been mixed with the ambient material, making them easily separable from the surrounding emission. The study of these systems therefore provides important constraints on the SNR dynamics, ejecta and dust properties, and the SN progenitor. I will briefly summarize the observational studies of dust and ejecta around PWNe, and present a recent analysis of SOFIA, Spitzer, AKARI, and Herschel observations of the PWN in G54.1+0.3 that reveals evidence for significant dust formation and sheds light on the properties of pristine SN-condensed grains.