Magnetic Imprisonment of Dusty Pinballs by a Supernova Remnant

Brian J. Fry, Brian D. Fields, And John R. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motivated by recent measurements of deposits of 60Fe on the ocean floor and the lunar surface, we model the transport of dust grains containing 60Fe from a near-Earth (i.e., within 100 pc) supernova (SN). We inject dust grains into the environment of an SN remnant (SNR) and trace their trajectories by applying a 1D hydrodynamic description assuming spherical symmetry to describe the plasma dynamics, and we include a rudimentary, 3D magnetic field description to examine its influence on charged dust grains. We assume the interstellar medium (ISM) magnetic fields are turbulent and are amplified by the SNR shock, while the SN wind and ejecta fields are negligible. We examine the various influences on the dust grains within the SNR to determine when/if the dust decouples from the plasma, how much it is sputtered, and where within the SNR the dust grains are located. We find that Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities are important for dust survival, as they influence the location of the SN's reverse shock. We find that the presence of a magnetic field within the shocked ISM material limits the passage of SN dust grains, with the field either reflecting or trapping the grains within the heart of the SNR. These results have important implications for in situ 60Fe measurements and for dust evolution in SNRs generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 10 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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