Williams, Brian J., Borkowski, Kazimierz J., Reynolds, Stephen P., Ghavamian, Parviz, Raymond, John C., Long, Knox S., Blair, William P., Sankrit, Ravi, Winkler, P. Frank, and Hendrick, Sean P. 2014. "Spitzer Observations of the Type Ia Supernova Remnant N103B: Kepler's Older Cousin?." The Astrophysical Journal 790:139. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/790/2/139
We report results from Spitzer observations of SNR 0509-68.7, also known as N103B, a young Type Ia supernova remnant (SNR) in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) that shows interaction with a dense medium in its western hemisphere. Our images show that N103B has strong IR emission from warm dust in the post-shock environment. The post-shock gas density we derive, 45 cm-3, is much higher than in other Type Ia remnants in the LMC, though a lack of spatial resolution may bias measurements toward regions of higher than average density. This density is similar to that in Kepler's SNR, a Type Ia interacting with a circumstellar medium (CSM). Optical images show Hα emission along the entire periphery of the western portion of the shock, with [O III] and [S II] lines emitted from a few dense clumps of material where the shock has become radiative. The dust is silicate in nature, though standard silicate dust models fail to reproduce the "18 μm" silicate feature that peaks instead at 17.3 μm. We propose that the dense material is circumstellar material lost from the progenitor system, as with Kepler. If the CSM interpretation is correct, this remnant would become the second member, along with Kepler, of a class of Type Ia remnants characterized by interaction with a dense CSM hundreds of years post-explosion. A lack of N enhancement eliminates symbiotic asymptotic giant branch progenitors. The white dwarf companion must have been relatively unevolved at the time of the explosion.