Ultraviolet interstellar absorption lines in the LMC: Searching for hidden SNRs

You Hua Chu, Bart Wakker, Mordecai Mark Mac Low, Guillermo García-Segura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Strong x-ray emission detected in Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) superbubbles has been explained as the result of interior supernova remnants (SNRs) hitting the dense superbubble shell. Such SNRs cannot be found using conventional criteria. We thus investigate the possibility of using the interstellar absorption properties in the UV as a diagnostic of hidden SNR shocks. The IUE archives provide the database for this pilot study. They contain high-dispersion spectra of several stars in x-ray bright superbubbles. To distinguish the effects of SNR shocks from those of local stellar winds and a global hot halo around the LMC, we included control objects in different environments. We find that almost all interstellar absorption properties can be explained by the interstellar environment associated with the objects. Summarizing the two most important results of this study: (1) a large velocity shift between the high-ionization species (C IV and S IV) and the low-ionization species (S II, Si II, and C II*) is a diagnostic of hidden SNR shocks; however, the absence of a velocity shift does not preclude the existence of SNR shocks; (2) there is no evidence that the LMC is uniformly surrounded by hot gas; hot gas is preferentially found associated with large interstellar structures like superbubbles and supergiant shells, which may extend to large distances from the plane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1696-1721
Number of pages26
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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