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Model atmospheres for SN 1987A and the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud
Eastman, Ronald G.; Kirshner, Robert P.
AA(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA), AB(Michigan, University, Ann Arbor)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 347, Dec. 15, 1989, p. 771-793. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Magellanic Clouds, Radiation Transport, Radiative Transfer, Stellar Atmospheres, Stellar Models, Supernova 1987a, Equilibrium Equations, Helium, Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics, Numerical Integration, Stellar Spectra
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A code which simultaneously solves the non-LTE equations of statistical equilibrium and the time-independent equation of radiation transport in an expanding atmosphere is applied to analyze the spectrum of SN 1987A. The behavior of a model atmosphere in which the density structure is a power-law function of radius has been studied and compared closely with SN 1987A data. This model atmosphere is used to derive corrections to the expanding photosphere method for determining distances to supernovae. The distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud derived from SN 1987A observations by this 'custom yardstick' is 49 + or - 6 kpc in excellent accord with results for RR Lyrae stars and for Cepheids. This empirical test of the expanding photosphere method provides the basis for hope that it may make a significant contribution to the extragalactic distance scale at cosmologically interesting distances.

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